Non-linear relationships between daily temperature extremes and US agricultural yields uncovered by global gridded meteorological datasets

D. Hogan and W. Schlenker

Nat. Commun. (31 May 2024)

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-48388-w


Global agricultural commodity markets are highly integrated among major producers. Prices are driven by aggregate supply rather than what happens in individual countries in isolation. Estimating the effects of weather-induced shocks on production, trade patterns and prices hence requires a globally representative weather data set. Recently, two data sets that provide daily or hourly records, GMFD and ERA5-Land, became available. Starting with the US, a data rich region, we formally test whether these global data sets are as good as more fine-scaled country-specific data in explaining yields and whether they estimate similar response functions. While GMFD and ERA5-Land have lower predictive skill for US corn and soybeans yields than the fine-scaled PRISM data, they still correctly uncover the underlying non-linear temperature relationship. All specifications using daily temperature extremes under any of the weather data sets outperform models that use a quadratic in average temperature. Correctly capturing the effect of daily extremes has a larger effect than the choice of weather data. In a second step, focusing on Sub Saharan Africa, a data sparse region, we confirm that GMFD and ERA5-Land have superior predictive power to CRU, a global weather data set previously employed for modeling climate effects in the region.

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