Submitted to: Crop Adaptation to Climate Change
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 31, 2010
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Citation: Hatfield, J.L. 2011. Changing climate in North America: Implications for crops. In: Yadov, S.S., Redden, R.J., Hatfield, J.L., Lotze-Campen, H., Hall, A., editors. Crop Adaptation to Climate Change. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley Blackwell. p. 57-65. Technical Abstract: Climate change is occurring across North America with changes in temperature and precipitation patterns. The degree of change is not uniform with some regions potentially exhibiting larger changes than others. Temperature patterns will increase overall; however, the southern US is expected to warm more than the upper portions of North America. Precipitation patterns show a very distinct seasonal and regional trend. The southwest US and northern Mexico show dramatic decreases in annual precipitation compared to the rest of North America. Overall, the trends are for decreased summer precipitation in North America which has implications for increased water stress on crops since the vast majority of the crops are grown during the summer under rainfed conditions. All of these patterns will require that plant scientists and agronomists begin to understand the genetic by environment interactions to be able to develop management practices to be able to withstand these increased climatic stresses. These will require a renewed emphasis on water management to increase water availability to the crop to reduce water stress and variety development and selection to cope with temperature extremes and exposure to water stress. These are challenges which the research community must address to cope with climate change.