First process-based simulations of climate change impacts on global tea production indicate large effects in the World’s major producer countries

Abstract Modelling of climate change impacts have mainly been focused on a small number of annual staple crops that provide most of the world’s calories. Crop models typically do not represent perennial crops despite their high economic, nutritional, or cultural value. Here we assess climate change impacts on global tea production, chosen because of its high importance in culture and livelihoods of people around the world. We extended the dynamic global vegetation model with managed land, LPJmL4, global crop model to simulate the cultivation of tea plants. Simulated tea yields were validated and found in good agreement with historical observations as well as experiments on the effects of increasing CO2 concentrations. We then projected yields into the future under a range of climate scenarios from the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project. Under current irrigation levels and lowest climate change scenario – tea yields are expected to decrease in major producing countries. In most climate scenarios, we project that tea yields are set to increase in China, India, and Vietnam. However, yield losses are expected to affect Kenya, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. If abundant water supply and full irrigation is assumed for all tea cultivation areas, yields are projected to increase everywhere due to climate change and CO2 fertilization. The full article is available on the Environmental Research Letters website at Beringer+et+al_2019_Environ._Res._Lett._10.1088_1748-9326_ab649b]]>

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