Freshwater availability is relevant to almost all socioeconomic and environmental impacts of climate and demographic change and their implications for sustainability. We compare ensembles of water supply and demand projections driven by ensemble output from five global climate models. Our results suggest reasons for concern. Direct climate impacts to maize, soybean, wheat, and rice involve losses of 4002,600 Pcal (843% of present-day total). Freshwater limitations in some heavily irrigated regions could necessitate reversion of 2060 Mha of cropland from irrigated to rainfed management, and a further loss of 6002,900 Pcal. Freshwater abundance in other regions could help ameliorate these losses, but substantial investment in infrastructure would be required. We compare ensembles of water supply and demand projections from 10 global hydrological models and six global gridded crop models. These are produced as part of the Inter-Sectoral Impacts Model Intercomparison Project, with coordination from the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project, and driven by outputs of general circulation models run under representative concentration pathway 8.5 as part of the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. Models project that direct climate impacts to maize, soybean, wheat, and rice involve losses of 4001,400 Pcal (824% of present-day total) when CO2 fertilization effects are accounted for or 1,4002,600 Pcal (2443%) otherwise. Freshwater limitations in some irrigated regions (western United States; China; and West, South, and Central Asia) could necessitate the reversion of 2060 Mha of cropland from irrigated to rainfed management by end-of-century, and a further loss of 6002,900 Pcal of food production. In other regions (northern/eastern United States, parts of South America, much of Europe, and South East Asia) surplus water supply could in principle support a net increase in irrigation, although substantial investments in irrigation infrastructure would be required.
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing; Meteorology and Climatology
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (ISSN 0027-8424) (e-ISSN 1091-6490); 111; 9; 3239-3244