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Central Asia Wheat Production in Two Climate Change Scenarios
Sommer, R., Glazirina, M., Yuldashev, T., Otarov, A., Ibraeva, M., Martynova, L., Bekenov, M., Kholov, B., Ibragimov, N., Kobilov, R., Karaev, S., Sultonov, M., Khasanova, F., Esanbekov, M., Mavlyanov, D., Isaev, S., Abdurahimov, S., Ikramov, R., Shezdyukova, L. and de Pauw, E. 2013. Impact of climate change on wheat productivity in Central Asia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 178: 78-99.

The authors write that "global warming and related climate change (CC) may pose a major challenge to agriculture and rural livelihoods in Central Asia, with its five countries Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan." And they say that "in view of the little hard data at hand, there is considerable uncertainty about the impact of CC" and that "the sub-region is clearly in need of more climate-change-related research," which they thus go on to provide, as they note that "in-depth studies are lacking."

What was done
"To address this issue," in the words of Sommer et al., "crop growth and yield of 14 wheat varieties grown on 18 sites in key agro-ecological zones of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in response to CC were assessed," in a study where "three future periods affected by the two projections on CC (SRES A1B and A2) were considered and compared against historic (1961-1990) figures," and where "the impact on wheat was simulated with the CropSyst model distinguishing three levels of agronomic management."

What was learned
When all was said and done, the 20 researchers reported that they had determined that "the overall simulated impact of climate change on wheat productivity in Central Asia is positive," adding that "a warmer climate explains most of this positive impact" and that "CO2 fertilization adds to it."

What it means
In commenting on what they had learned from their work, Sommer et al. concluded by stating that "given the generally positive impact of CC on wheat productivity in Central Asia, there remains little to be argued about adaptation needs for farmers."

Reviewed 12 February 2014