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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Tracking the impacts of climate change on agriculture

Average annual number of nights with minimum temperatures greater than 70°F, averaged over three decades across the southeastern United States. Each decade—(a) 1954–1963, (b) 1984–1993, and (c) 2004–2013—shows an increased area where the average number of nights with minimum temperatures above 70°F occurred; these temperatures exceed the thermoneutral zone for cattle, sheep, and goats, above which heat stress can occur. (Based on data from Livneh et al. 2015.) Source: USDA.

A new set of agricultural and climate data products provides the basis for communicating the impacts of climate change on U.S. agricultural lands.

The recent USDA Climate Change Indicators for Agriculture report provides national, regional, and local information to support effective decision-making by U.S. agricultural producers, resource managers, policy makers, and other users.1 This set of indicators identifies high-priority agricultural and climate data products while providing the basis for tracking the impacts of climate change on American working lands, in support of adaptive operational responses. The report categorizes physical, crop and livestock, biological, phenological, and socioeconomic indicators for a wide range of U.S. geographical areas, production types, and systemic outcomes. The indicators are currently being further developed into a queryable, geographically explicit, real-time decision support system for resource management.

The report was produced through a collaboration among USDA, Colorado State University, Florida State University, Cornell University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and NSF.

1 Walsh, M. K., P. Backlund, L. Buja, A. DeGaetano, R. Melnick, L. Prokopy, E. Takle, D. Todey, L. Ziska. 2020. Climate Indicators for Agriculture. USDA Technical Bulletin 1953. Washington, DC. 70 pages.