Assessing the impact of global climate changes on irrigated wheat yields and water requirements in a semi-arid environment of Morocco

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 16;9(1):19142. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-55251-2.


The present work aims to quantify the impact of climate change (CC) on the grain yields of irrigated cereals and their water requirements in the Tensift region of Morocco. The Med-CORDEX (MEDiterranean COordinated Regional Climate Downscaling EXperiment) ensemble runs under scenarios RCP4.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway) and RCP8.5 are first evaluated and disaggregated using the quantile-quantile approach. The impact of CC on the duration of the main wheat phenological stages based on the degree-day approach is then analyzed. The results show that the rise in air temperature causes a shortening of the development cycle of up to 50 days. The impacts of rising temperature and changes in precipitation on wheat yields are next evaluated, based on the AquaCrop model, both with and without taking into account the fertilizing effect of CO2. As expected, optimal wheat yields will decrease on the order of 7 to 30% if CO2 concentration rise is not considered. The fertilizing effect of CO2 can counterbalance yield losses, since optimal yields could increase by 7% and 13% respectively at mid-century for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios. Finally, water requirements are expected to decrease by 13 to 42%, mainly in response to the shortening of the cycle. This decrease is associated with a change in temporal patterns, with the requirement peak coming two months earlier than under current conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Irrigation*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Climate Change*
  • Desert Climate*
  • Geography
  • Morocco
  • Rain
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Temperature
  • Triticum / growth & development*
  • Water*


  • Water
  • Carbon Dioxide