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Climate Change and CO2 Effects on Future Soybean Yields in Serbia

Paper Reviewed
Jancic, M., Lalic, B., Mihailovic, D.T. and Jacimovic, G. 2015. Impact of climate change and carbon dioxide fertilization effect on irrigation water demand and yield of soybean in Serbia. Journal of Agricultural Science 153: 1365-1379.

Jancic et al. (2015) introduce their study of future soybean yields by noting that a key focus of much current research is to predict future changes in climate at individual locations and to determine how these changes may impact future agricultural production. And, therefore, they set out to perform such a task for their homeland of Serbia, where real-world input weather data from a 1971-2000 baseline period were obtained from Serbia's Republic Hydrometeorological Service and fed into three GCMs (General Circulation Models), which they used to calculate approximate future weather conditions for 2030 and 2050 under projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations. And what did these efforts reveal?

The two researchers reported a projected rise in temperature of up to 1.8°C in 2030 and 3.0°C in 2050, along with a 22.5% decline in precipitation in 2030 and a 37.1% decline in 2050 during the soybean growing season. Nevertheless, they found -- even without the aerial fertilization effect of projected CO2 concentrations -- that the calculated climate change "positively impacts soybean yield in all locations in 2030 and 2050." And when the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment was included in their analyses, they found that it would "further increase yield at all locations," with relative positive changes that "ranged from 22 to 58% in 2030 and from 28 to 75% in 2050."

Consequently, and even under rather extreme projected increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation, the outlook for soybean production in Serbia looks to be significantly enhanced by allowing the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 concentration to continue its ongoing upward trend.

Posted 22 February 2016