Figuring out how climate change affects agriculture is difficult because it’s hard to separate the impacts that climate has versus others from the economy. But there is a way, according to scientists at the University of California, Davis.
In order to tease out the differences, researchers at the university suggest using an econometric model to isolate the effects of climate from those from the economy. They have used such an approach in a study looking at Yolo County, California’s agriculture.
In that effort, the scientists used 100 years of existing climate data along with 60 years of farm data to investigate the relationships between climate conditions and 12 major crops that grow in the county. Researchers saw that the minimum temperatures are higher nowadays while the maximum temperatures have remained about the same. Minimum temperatures are rising at a faster rate, especially in winter, scientists say. That’s good for winter crops but not so good for plants that need chill hours.
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