International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 669–679 | Cite as

Impact of choice of future climate change projection on growth chamber experimental outcomes: a preliminary study in potato

  • Courtney P. Leisner
  • Joshua C. Wood
  • Brieanne Vaillancourt
  • Ying Tang
  • Dave S. Douches
  • C. Robin Buell
  • Julie A. Winkler
Original Paper


Understanding the impacts of climate change on agriculture is essential to ensure adequate future food production. Controlled growth experiments provide an effective tool for assessing the complex effects of climate change. However, a review of the use of climate projections in 57 previously published controlled growth studies found that none considered within-season variations in projected future temperature change, and few considered regional differences in future warming. A fixed, often arbitrary, temperature perturbation typically was applied for the entire growing season. This study investigates the utility of employing more complex climate change scenarios in growth chamber experiments. A case study in potato was performed using three dynamically downscaled climate change projections for the mid-twenty-first century that differ in terms of the timing during the growing season of the largest projected temperature changes. The climate projections were used in growth chamber experiments for four elite potato cultivars commonly planted in Michigan’s major potato growing region. The choice of climate projection had a significant influence on the sign and magnitude of the projected changes in aboveground biomass and total tuber count, whereas all projections suggested an increase in total tuber weight and a decrease in specific gravity, a key market quality trait for potato, by mid-century. These results demonstrate that the use of more complex climate projections that extend beyond a simple incremental change can provide additional insights into the future impacts of climate change on crop production and the accompanying uncertainty.


Climate change Controlled growth experiments Potato Regional climate model simulations Uncertainty 



We would like to acknowledge Megan Conway and Paul Rosemurgy for their help with tuber harvesting. We also thank Chris Long for helpful discussions about potato growing conditions and harvest. We thank the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program for providing the regional climate model simulations.

Funding information

This project was supported by Michigan State University GREEEN Proposal #GR15-008. The climate projections used in the study were developed with support from the National Science Foundation (Award CNH 0909378). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views and policies of the funding agencies.

Supplementary material

484_2017_1475_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (101 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 101 kb)
484_2017_1475_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© ISB 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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