Maize – highly sensitive to rising temperatures

15 March, 2011 by (comments)

A one-degree Celsius temperature rise can cause massive yield losses in maize, according to a soon-to-be-published study from Stanford University and CIAT sister center, the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT).

NP Ghana 15_lo

The study, due to be published in Nature Climate Change, found that a single degree Celsius increase in temperature could cut harvests in two thirds of maize fields in sub-Saharan Africa. When heat is combined with drought, researchers estimate that all corn maize would decline, reducing yields by 20 per cent or more in three quarters of fields.

Many politicians and scientists regard global temperature rises within two degrees Celsius by 2050 as “safe warming”, however this latest research coincides with CIAT’s recent Two Degrees Up project, which illustrates the sensitivity of smallholder agriculture to even small fluctuations in temperature.

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Filed Under: Climate Change