French crop yields have increased tremendously since 1900. Yet in recent years, several key crops like wheat, oats or sunflower have shown signs of stagnation - that is, they grew tired of growing. The reasons for this stallment in growth are elusive.
We elicit whether an increased vulnerability to climate conditions may have contributed to recent stagnation. Climate extremes might be crucial here.
We find that undesirable climate conditions are more frequent today than a few decades ago. Independently, the sensitivity to these adverse conditions seems to have risen. In sum, our findings indicate that hopes for future yield increases are challenged by climate change.
Bernhard Schauberger is a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and has spent three years as a guest researcher at the LSCE. His study interests centre on crop yields, climate change and near-term yield forecasting. This can, but need not be seen, under the lens of food security.