The influence of changes in climate means versus changes in climate variability on crop yields in Tanzania

With over 1 billion undernourished people in the world a better understanding is needed on how and where we produce food. This situation may even get worse with the predicted change in climate. This necessitates cross-disciplinary research analyzing the effects of climate on crop production. Our study uses statistical methods to measure the relationships between temperature and precipitation, and crop production in Tanzania where agriculture represents around 46% of its GDP. Agriculture in Tanzania is mainly rainfed with little chemical input, making crop production very sensitive and vulnerable to climate. One of the main qualities of this study is the use of detailed climatic data using precipitation and temperature records from 20 gauge stations around the country as well as information on crop production and harvested area at the subnational level. Having high-resolution data will provide us more detailed information on more local processes. Moreover, besides looking at the impacts of changes in climatic means, this study will also measure the impacts of intra-seasonal changes in precipitation and temperature. First results show a decline in yields with rising temperature. As the IPCC has predicted an increase in extreme climatic events as well as in temperature this study will give insight on the potential impacts on crop production, especially in food insecure regions.

Lead Investigator: