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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Quantification of the Impact of Temperature, CO2, and Rainfall Changes on Swedish Annual Crops Production Using the APSIM Model

Morel, Julien; Kumar, Uttam; Ahmed, Mukhtar; Bergkvist, Göran; Halling, Magnus; Parsons, David; Lana, Marcos


Ongoing climate change is already affecting crop production patterns worldwide. Our aim was to investigate how increasing temperature and CO2 as well as changes in precipitation could affect potential yields for different historical pedoclimatic conditions at high latitudes (i.e., >55°). The APSIM crop model was used to simulate the productivity of four annual crops (barley, forage maize, oats, and spring wheat) over five sites in Sweden ranging between 55 and 64°N. A first set of simulations was run using site-specific daily weather data acquired between 1980 and 2005. A second set of simulations was then run using incremental changes in precipitation, temperature and CO2 levels, corresponding to a range of potential future climate scenarios. All simulation sets were compared in terms of production and risk of failure. Projected future trends showed that barley and oats will reach a maximum increase in yield with a 1°C increase in temperature compared to the 1980–2005 baseline. The optimum temperature for spring wheat was similar, except at the northernmost site (63.8°N), where the highest yield was obtained with a 4°C increase in temperature. Forage maize showed best performances for temperature increases of 2–3°C in all locations, except for the northernmost site, where the highest simulated yield was reached with a 5°C increase. Changes in temperatures and CO2 were the main factors explaining the changes in productivity, with ~89% of variance explained, whereas changes in precipitation explained ~11%. At the northernmost site, forage maize, oats and spring wheat showed decreasing risk of crop failure with increasing temperatures. The results of this modeling exercise suggest that the cultivation of annual crops in Sweden should, to some degree, benefit from the expected increase of temperature in the coming decades, provided that little to no water stress affects their growth and development. These results might be relevant to agriculture studies in regions of similar latitudes, especially the Nordic countries, and support the general assumption that climate change should have a positive impact on crop production at high latitudes.


APSIM crop model; annual crop; climate change; high latitudes; Nordic countries; yield change; risk of failure

Published in

Frontiers in sustainable food systems
2021, Volume: 5, article number: 665025

      SLU Authors

    • Morel, Julien

      • Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
      • Kumar, Uttam

        • Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences