The headline for a recent article didn’t really seem important for crop production—“Plant studies miss the full effect of climate change.” But upon reading the article, it became clear that growing crops under conditions slightly warmer than normal for a specific region and crop variety isn’t an easy task for researchers. How do they duplicate one degree warmer temperatures and all the environmental conditions?
“To predict what the future holds, ecologists are artificially warming selected plots in natural ecosystems using infrared lamps, soil-heating cables or open-top enclosures that act like greenhouses. But researchers led by Elizabeth Wolkovich of the University of California, San Diego, have found that such experiments aren't a reliable guide to the future,” as newscientist.com wrote in reporting on Wolkovich’s presentation at the recent American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
Wolkovich and a team not limited to California has compared 36 controlled research warming experiments and found plant response results have not been in line with 14-long-term plant studies in actual fields of regions where warmer environmental conditions have been verified. She collected information about more than 1,500 plant species across four continents.
Another university research project in the Northeast also has shown a lot about changes in plant growth under warmer conditions, the study of phenology.
You can read about the research, the preliminary findings and projections of what only a one degree warmer environment might mean to crops and plants in the future by clicking here.