Evaluating the impacts of climate change on crop yields and N2O emissions in Southwestern Ontario using the DNDC model


Yang, J.Y., Drury, C.F. He, W.T., Smith, W.N., Grant, B.B., He, P., Qian, B., Zhou, W., Hoogenboom, G. 2017. Evaluating the impacts of climate change on crop yields and N2O emissions in Southwestern Ontario using the DNDC model. Poster presentation In: The annual meeting of Canadian Society of Soil Science, Trent University, Peterborough 2017/06/10 - 2017/06/14.


The objectives of this study were to evaluate crop yields, soil temperature, moisture and N2O emissions using a denitrification-decomposition (DNDC) model and to explore the impacts of climate change scenarios on crop yields and N2O emissions in winter wheat-maize-soybean rotation under conventional and no tillage practices at Woodslee, Southwestern Ontario. The model was calibrated using various statistics including the d index (0.85-0.99), NSE (Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency, NSE>0) and nRMSE (normalized root mean square error, nRMSE<10%) all of which provided “good” to “excellent” agreement between simulated and measured crop yields for both CT and NT practices. The calibrated DNDC model had a “good” performance in assessing soil temperature. However, there were no differences in simulated soil temperatures between CT and NT treatments and this was attributed to deficiencies in the temperature algorithm which does not consider the insulation effect of surface crop residues in the DNDC model. The DNDC model provided a reasonable prediction of soil water content in the 0-0.1 m depth, but it overestimated soil water content during dry conditions mainly because the model was unable to characterize preferential flow through clay cracks. Under future climate scenarios, soybean and maize yields were significantly increased compared to the baseline scenarios due to the benefits from higher optimum temperature for maize and increased CO2 for soybean. The mean annual N2O emissions for winter wheat significantly increased by about 38.1% for CT and 17.3% for NT under future RCP scenarios when using the current crop cultivars. However, when a new cultivar with higher TDD (thermal degree days) was used, the mean winter wheat yield increased by 39.5% under future climate scenarios compared to current cultivars and there were significant reductions in N2O emissions.