Climate Research


Climate Change and Biofuel Wheat Production in Southern Saskatchewan: Long-Term Climate Trends Versus Climate Modeling Predictions

Authors: Sierra Rayne, Kaya Forest

Climate modeling work has suggested biofuel wheat production in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, during the mid-21st century will be influenced by increasing annual precipitation, including precipitation increases in every month except July and August, increasing daily mean, minimum, and maximum air temperatures throughout the year, and substantial increases in the risk of wheat heat shock (temperatures>32.0 C). In the current study, we compare prior modeling predictions to historical trends in the number of days with maximum temperatures >32.0 C during July and August, the number of hours with maximum temperatures >32.0 C during July, as well as monthly and annual total precipitation, mean daily temperatures, and mean maximum daily temperatures for climate stations throughout southern Saskatchewan. We find no evidence of increasing trends for wheat heat shock days or hours during the mid-summer period in this region. In contrast, the majority of stations exhibit significantly declining temporal trends in wheat heat shock days and hours. Historical precipitation and temperature trends for the climate stations under consideration in southern Saskatchewan display significant inter- and intra-station heterogeneity throughout the year in terms of whether or not trends are evident, as well as their magnitude and direction. Consequently, caution must be exercised when extrapolating any case study analyses at a particular location to larger geographic areas of the province. Based on our analyses of historical climate data for southern Saskatchewan, it is unclear whether climate models are accurately predicting future climate change impacts on biofuel wheat production for this region in the mid-21st century.

Comments: 15 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2013-03-07 23:10:31

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