Silver lining to a climate crisis in multiple prospects for alleviating crop waterlogging under future climates

Ke Liu, Matthew Tom Harrison, Haoliang Yan, De Li Liu, Holger Meinke, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Bin Wang, Bin Peng, Kaiyu Guan, Jonas Jaegermeyr, Enli Wang, Feng Zhang, Xiaogang Yin, Sotirios Archontoulis, Lixiao Nie, Ana Badea, Jianguo Man, Daniel Wallach, Jin Zhao, Ana Borrego BenjumeaShah Fahad, Xiaohai Tian, Weilu Wang, Fulu Tao, Zhao Zhang, Reimund Rötter, Youlu Yuan, Min Zhu, Panhong Dai, Jiangwen Nie, Yadong Yang, Yunbo Zhang, Meixue Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extreme weather events threaten food security, yet global assessments of impacts caused by crop waterlogging are rare. Here we first develop a paradigm that distils common stress patterns across environments, genotypes and climate horizons. Second, we embed improved process-based understanding into a farming systems model to discern changes in global crop waterlogging under future climates. Third, we develop avenues for adapting cropping systems to waterlogging contextualised by environment. We find that yield penalties caused by waterlogging increase from 3–11% historically to 10–20% by 2080, with penalties reflecting a trade-off between the duration of waterlogging and the timing of waterlogging relative to crop stage. We document greater potential for waterlogging-tolerant genotypes in environments with longer temperate growing seasons (e.g., UK, France, Russia, China), compared with environments with higher annualised ratios of evapotranspiration to precipitation (e.g., Australia). Under future climates, altering sowing time and adoption of waterlogging-tolerant genotypes reduces yield penalties by 18%, while earlier sowing of winter genotypes alleviates waterlogging by 8%. We highlight the serendipitous outcome wherein waterlogging stress patterns under present conditions are likely to be similar to those in the future, suggesting that adaptations for future climates could be designed using stress patterns realised today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number765
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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