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Winter Wheat Yield Response to Anticipated CO2 and Climate Changes in Central Europe
Eitzinger, J., Zalud, Z., Alexandrov, V., van Diepen, C.A., Trnka, M., Dubrovsky, M., Semeradova, D. and Oberforster, M.  2001.  A local simulation study on the impact of climate change on winter wheat production in north-east Austria.  Ecology and Economics 52: 199-212.

What was done
The authors used the WOFOST crop model to simulate the future impact of changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration and climate on winter wheat production in north-eastern Austria for the year 2080 under twice-ambient CO2 concentrations.  Climate change inputs, including temperature and precipitation data, were derived from five different general circulation models of the atmosphere.

What was learned
The authors found that "increasing temperatures enhance the development rate of the crop and reduce yield potential if they are not compensated by the direct CO2 fertilization effect."  Fortunately, they are so compensated.  In fact, they are over compensated.  Under twice-ambient CO2 concentrations, for example, the crop growth model predicted winter wheat yield increases of 30 to 55% in north-eastern Austria based on predicted changes in both temperature and precipitation.

What it means
As the air's CO2 content continues to rise, winter wheat yields in Central Europe will likely experience significant increases, even if air temperature and precipitation patterns change as predicted by GCMs.

Reviewed 26 March 2003