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UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP-18

US Center Side Event

Doha, Qatar

November 26 - December 7, 2012

Title: Climate Change, Agriculture, and Drought - Lessons from the 2012 Growing Season

Event Summary:
The agricultural ecosystem is one of the most climate-dependent human-influenced systems. In 2012, the United States experienced one of the worst droughts affecting prime cropland in the central US in years, by some described as a ‘flash’ drought because of its rapid development. In the central US, the planting season began early with unseasonably warm temperatures in most of the US but crop failure occurred rapidly when precipitation largely ceased at the peak of water demand in the growing cycle. In this session, we explore the effects of this drought on U.S. agriculture and efforts to improve the resilience on U.S. agricultural systems to drought from a research, private sector, and governmental perspective. Investments in improved crop technologies and production systems have dramatically increased the climate resilience of major U.S. crops, especially maize (corn), which had 50% higher yields in 2012 than were observed during the previous major U.S. Midwest drought of 1988. Based on current projections, even greater improvements in crop productivity and resilience will be needed for sustainable agriculture and urgent global imperative for food security.


Carolyn Olson
Senior Scientist
Climate Change Program Office
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David Gustafson
Director of ILSI-RF Center for Integrated Modeling of Sustainable Agriculture & Nutrition Security
Director of Environmental & Ag Policy Modeling at Monsanto
Presentation (PDF): Private Sector Contributions to Improved Drought Resilience
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Eugene S. Takle
Professor of Agronomy, Professor of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Director of Climate Science Program
Iowa State University
Presentation (PDF): Diagnosis of the US Drought of 2012
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