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Analysis Of Down To Earth Magazine: ”Impact Of Rising Temperature on Crop Yield”

Analysis Of Down To Earth Magazine
”Impact Of Rising Temperature on Crop Yield”


”GS 3: Disaster Management, Environmental Pollution & Degradation”


  • Above normal rains in January and record-shattering temperatures in March have reduced wheat yield throughout the country which resulted in price rise.
  • Many other crops were also affected due to adverse climatic conditions.

Ideal Conditions for wheat Crop?

  • Wheat requires cool and moist conditions for most of its growing period.
  • The optimum temperature range for germination of wheat seed is 20-25 degree C.
  • The crop is typically sown in late October or November and harvested in April.
  • The grains develop in February and March.

What was unusual this year?

  • But this year, India saw an early onset of summer, with large parts of central and western India recording 40 degrees C in March.
  • The month was the warmest in 122 years, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • In the third week, maximum temperatures were 4.5 C above normal in the major wheat-producing regions of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Madhya Pradesh and a few parts of Gujarat.

March Became May!

  • Temperatures typically seen in May were observed in March this year.
  • Due to which, Wheat crops matured 10-15 days earlier and the grain size remained short By the end of March, heatwaves had hit large swaths of north-western India and a few pockets of central India.
  • The number of heatwave days during the month was significantly higher than normal, as per imd.

Rainfall Deficit

  • Heatwaves typically strike north, north-west, central, east and northeast India in May.
  • The month was also unusually dry, receiving the third-lowest rainfall since 1901.
  • Overall, the country witnessed a “deficient” pre-monsoon (showers between March and May), with a deficiency of 32 per cent from March to April, compared to the normal range.

Adverse Impact Of Higher Temperature on Crop Yield

  • High temperatures at night force plants to redirect energy meant for grain formation to transpiration—a process that helps keep plants cool.
  • This tends to reduce the duration of grain filling and, as a result, the grains lose weight, leading to low yield.

What immediate reasons triggered the high temperatures in March and April?

  • There were some changes in the atmospheric patterns.
  • Anti-cyclones, which cause hot and dry weather by sinking winds around high-pressure areas, had formed over western parts of Rajasthan in March.
  • Even western disturbances that bring showers were inactive this year.

Climate Change is Real

  • There is enough study which shows that the main reason is climate change.
  • One study published in Global Change Biology in 2018 found that a 1.5°C rise in temperatures could decrease global wheat production by 2.3-7 per cent.
  • A 2021 paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that wheat yields in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh could reduce by 12-27 per cent by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not lowered.


We need to adapt cropping practices and develop heat-tolerant seed varieties, while also engaging in the larger mission to mitigate climate change.

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