Potential benefits of climate change for potatoes in the United States

Chuang Zhao, Claudio O. Stockle, Tina Karimi, Roger Leroy Nelson, Frits K. van Evert, Annette A. Pronk, Anne A. Riddle, Elizabeth Marshall, Rubí Raymundo, Yan Li, Kaiyu Guan, Dave Gustafson, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Xi Wang, Jiahui Cong, Senthold Asseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Potatoes are a mainstay of human diets and 4 million metric tons are produced annually in the United States. Simulations of future crop production show that climate change is likely to reduce the yields of the major grain crops around the world, but the impacts on potato production have yet to be determined. A model ensemble consisting of five process-based and one statistical model was used to estimate the impact of climate change on fully irrigated, well-fertilized potato crop across the USA under the RCP 8.5 scenario of high emissions. Results indicate that increasing temperature will reduce potato yields, but this will be mostly compensated by elevated atmospheric CO2. Yields are predicted to decline with climate change in the current highest-yielding areas, which might experience the highest rises in growing season temperature during short hot summers. Simulated yields increase slightly elsewhere in the southern regions of the USA. Planting potatoes earlier as adaptation to avoid hot summers might improve yields in most regions. Water use by the potato crop is predicted to decline despite higher temperatures, due to a shorter growing season and increased water use efficiency under elevated atmospheric CO2. With higher yields in many regions, crop uptake for (nitrogen + phosphorus + potassium) NPK fertilizer will increase, despite the reduced concentration of nutrients in potatoes due to a growth stimulus from elevated atmospheric CO2. With earlier planting, by 2050 water use will decline by 11.7%, NPK fertilizer uptake will increase by 10.4%, and yields of slightly less nutritious potatoes will increase by 14.9% nationally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104034
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • climate change
  • crop modeling
  • nutrients
  • potatoes
  • yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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