Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Agricultural Impacts

Robust uncertainty

An up-to-date synthesis of climate change impacts on crop yields shows that the bounds of uncertainty are increasing. So why do estimates of the effect of climate change on crop productivity differ so much?

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of the relationship between total uncertainty, projected ranges of relative yield changes and best fits of aggregate yield changes.


  1. Rosenzweig, C. & Parry, M. L. Nature 367, 133–138 (1994).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Wheeler, T. & von Braun, J. Science 341, 508–513 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Russell, B. Modern uncertainty. New York American (20 July 1932).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Challinor, A. et al. Nature Clim. Change 4, 287–291 10.1038/nclimate2153 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Easterling, W. E. et al. in IPCC Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (eds Parry, M. L., Canziani, O. F., Palutikof, J. P., van der Linden, P. J. & Hanson, C. E.) 273–313 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Jones, R. N. Clim. Change 45, 403–419 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Asseng, S. et al. Nature Clim. Change 3, 827–832 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. White, J. W. et al. Field Crop. Res. 124, 357–368 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Müller, C. & Robertson, R. D. Agric. Econ. 45, 85–101 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Rosenzweig, C. et al. Agr. Forest Meteorol. 170, 166–182 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Reimund P. Rötter.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rötter, R. Robust uncertainty. Nature Clim Change 4, 251–252 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing