Impact of Climate Change on Phenology of Two Heat-Resistant Wheat Varieties and Future Adaptations

Plants (Basel). 2022 Apr 27;11(9):1180. doi: 10.3390/plants11091180.


Climate change (CC) is a global threat to the agricultural system. Changing climatic conditions are causing variations in temperature range, rainfall timing, humidity percentage, soil structure, and composition of gases in environment. All these factors have a great influence on the phenological events in plants' life cycle. Alternation in phenological events, especially in crops, leads to either lower yield or crop failure. In light of respective statement, the present study is designed to evaluate the climatic impacts on two heat-resistant wheat varieties (Sialkot-2008 and Punjab-2018). During the study, impacts of CC on wheat phenology and annual yield were predicted considering six climatic factors: maximum temp, minimum temperature, precipitation, humidity, soil moisture content, and solar radiation using two quantitative approaches. First, a two-year field experimental plot was set up at five different sites of study-each plot a bisect of two sites. Phenological changes of both varieties were monitored with respect to climatic factors and changes were recorded in a scientific manner. Secondly, experimental results were compared with Global climate models (GMC) models with a baseline range of the past 40 years (1970-2010) and future fifty years (2019-2068) under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 model analysis. Field experiment showed a (0.02) difference in maximum temperature, (0.04) in minimum temperature, (0.17) in humidity, and about (0.03) significant difference in soil moisture content during 2019-2021. Under these changing climatic parameters, a 0.21% difference was accounted in annual yield. Furthermore, the results were supported by GMC model analysis, which was analyzed by Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) model. Results depicted that non-heat-resistant wheat varieties could cause up to a 6~13% reduction in yield during future 50 years (2019-2068)) compared with the last 40 years (1970-2010). A larger decline in wheat grain number relative to grain weight is a key reducer of wheat yield, under future climate change circumstances. Using heat-tolerant wheat varieties will not only assist to overcome this plethora but also provide a potential increase of up to 7% to 10% in indigenous environment. On the other hand, it was concluded that cultivating these heat-resistant varieties that are also ripening late culminates into enhanced thermal time chucks during the grain-filling period; hence, wheat yield will increase by 8% to 12%. In changing climatic conditions and varieties, 'Punjab-2018' will be the better choice for peasants and farm-land owners to obtain a better yield of wheat to cope with the necessities of food on the domestic and national level.

Keywords: Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP); climate change; heat-resistant varieties; late mature variety; phenology changes; with Global climate models (GCM).