Adaptation of Western US Agriculture to Climate Change Induced Water Scarcity
Project ID: 7430
Principal Investigator: Todd Gaston
Research Topic: Agriculture Water Supplies
Priority Area Assignments: 2013 (Climate Change and Variability Research), 2014 (Climate Change and Variability Research)
Funded Fiscal Years: 2013
Keywords: climate change, agriculture, adaptation, impact assessment, technological change, economics
This paper reviews three critical dimensions of climatic impacts to agriculture, which are rarely discussed in a single document: meteorological (global climate models), agronomic (process-based and production function), and economic (mathematical programming and econometric) modeling. We also discuss studies on farmer adaptations, particularly why farmers choose certain adaptations over others. This is followed by a brief assessment of model results in the southwestern United States. Crop simulation analyses suggest that higher-value crops in the region will be most sensitive to climatic changes, while economic analyses suggest that higher crop value may make the crop more attractive for farming under future climatic stress. Such tensions between climate sensitivity and crop value make the study of adaptation in the region all the more critical.