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ESS Ph.D. Dissertation Defense - Christopher Seifert: Spatiotemporal Analyses of Agricultural Adaptations to a Changing U.S. Climate
This talk comprises the public portion of the PhD dissertation defense from approximately 2:00-3:00 PM.
Department: Earth System Science
Graduate Student: Christopher Seifert
Advisor: Dr. David Lobell
Title: Spatiotemporal Analyses of Agricultural Adaptations to a Changing U.S. Climate
Abstract: As our species moves deeper into an era in which we have an increasing influence over the climate and health of our planet, it is important to examine the likely effects of our activities as well as the tools we can use to adapt to coming changes. As it occupies more land area than any other human activity and employs biological systems vulnerable to extreme heat, agriculture is chief amongst the top industries impacted by a changing climate. Previous work has focused on those impacts, finding potentially drastic effects for countries like the United States, the world’s largest producer of corn and soy, whose major production regions are fortuitously positioned near a climate optimum for those key crops. This dissertation examines various specific practices that could be deployed to build resilience and prevent the degradation of the U.S. agricultural system under potential 21st century climate regimes. Double cropping, crop rotation, cover cropping, and irrigation all have their place as potential adaptations. This work uses mechanistic and statistical models as well as newly available datasets and data processing methodologies to explore the expansion of suitability, the spatial variability, the yield effects, and the temporal trends in adoption of these practices respectively.