Association of Agrometeorologists

Assessing the impact of climate change on crop yields in Gangetic Plains Region, India

Naveen P. Singh, Surendra Singh, Bhawna Anand and P.C. Ranjith

Against the increasing vulnerability of agriculture and farm livelihoods to climate change, the study attempted to analyse the trend in climate variables and their impact on major crop yields during the period from 1966-2011, across 4 agro-climatic zones forming Gangetic Plains Region. A rising trend was observed in annual and seasonal (kharif and rabi) mean maximum and minimum temperature across the zones. Rainfall on the other hand, showed a declining trend. Overall, climate change adversely impacted crop yield, but the magnitudes of such effects vary spatially. The results reveal that rice and wheat yield will decline in the entire Gangetic region. By 2050s, maize yield will be higher by 6 percent in Lower Gangetic Plains; pearl millet will increase by 15 percent and rapeseed & mustard by 3.8 percent in Trans-Gangetic Plains. Amongst the crops, sugarcane yield was the most impacted to climate change and is expected to reduce by 21 percent in Middle Gangetic Plains towards end of the century. Hence, there is a need to formulate sustainable adaptation measures and practices suitable to location-specific needs for enhancing climate resiliency and capacity of agricultural system to withstand climatic shocks.

Climate change, trend, impact, crop yield, projections, FGLS, Gangetic Plains Region