Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2012
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Citation: Hatfield, J.L. 2012. North American perspectives on potential climate change and agricultural responses. In: Hillel, D., Rosenzweig, C., editors. Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems. Hackensack, NJ: Imperial College Press, World Scientific Publishing. p. 33-55. Technical Abstract: Climate change will impact agricultural production into the future because of the increased variability of temperature and precipitation manifested within the growing season weather. This combination of short-term weather and long-term climate presents a challenge in terms of being able to assess the potential adaptation and mitigation strategies possible to increase the resilience and long-term stability in production levels. There have been impacts of seasonal weather on crop production levels throughout North America and no crop or location is exempt from these impacts. Variation in production is evident in cropping systems where water is controlled by irrigation; however, the variation is less than under rainfed conditions. To understand the linkages among inputs, cropping systems, and outputs, a framework to integrate these components and the interface with adaptation and mitigation strategies has been developed. Variation in inputs, e.g., seasonal weather, causes variation in outputs expressed as either production amounts or quality of the product. Adaptation strategies focus on changes which can be made to cropping system or the agronomic management input while mitigation strategies are linked to soil management (soil carbon) or nutrient management (nitrogen management). One of the challenges to be addressed is to determine the potential effectiveness of different adaptation and mitigation strategies on increasing resilience to climate change which will manifest itself as a reduction in the yield variation. To more completely understand and quantify the concept of resilience, the development of a more complete understanding of the linkages among the rising CO2 concentrations, increasing variability in temperature and precipitation, and crop production system will have to be undertaken. Achieving this goal will increase our ability to cope with the degree of climate change occurring across North America.