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Exploring climate change impacts and adaptation options for maize production in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia using different climate change scenarios and crop models

Abstract

Exploring adaptation strategies for different climate change scenarios to support agricultural production and food security is a major concern to vulnerable regions, including Ethiopia. This study assesses the potential impacts of climate change on maize yield and explores specific adaptation options under climate change scenarios for the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia by mid-century. Impacts and adaptation options were evaluated using three General Circulation Models (GCMs) in combination with two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and two crop models. Results indicate that maize yield decreases on average by 20 % in 2050s relative to the baseline (1980–2009) due to climate change. A negative impact on yield is very likely, while the extent of impact is more uncertain. The share in uncertainties of impact projections was higher for the three GCMs than it was for the two RCPs and two crop models used in this study. Increasing nitrogen fertilization and use of irrigation were assessed as potentially effective adaptation options, which would offset negative impacts. However, the response of yields to increased fertilizer and irrigation will be less for climate change scenarios than under the baseline. Changes in planting dates also reduced negative impacts, while changing the maturity type of maize cultivars was not effective in most scenarios. The multi-model based analysis allowed estimating climate change impact and adaptation uncertainties, which can provide valuable insights and guidance for adaptation planning.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the Academy of Finland for funding this research through the AlterCLIMA project (decision no. 127405). We thank Marcel Lubbers, Mink Zijlstra and Joost Wolf (Plant Production Systems group of Wageningen University) for their help in model input data management. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups for producing and making available their model output.

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Correspondence to Belay T. Kassie.

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Kassie, B.T., Asseng, S., Rotter, R.P. et al. Exploring climate change impacts and adaptation options for maize production in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia using different climate change scenarios and crop models. Climatic Change 129, 145–158 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1322-x

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Keywords

  • Climate Change Impact
  • Climate Change Scenario
  • Rift Valley
  • Maize Yield
  • Adaptation Option