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Kenyan tea is made with heat and water: how will climate change influence its yield?

Rigden, Angela and Ongoma, Victor and Huybers, Peter (2020) Kenyan tea is made with heat and water: how will climate change influence its yield? Environmental Research Letters, 15 (4). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1748-9326

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    Abstract

    Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world apart from water. Climate change is anticipated to affect the tea industry, but quantified large-scale predictions of how temperature and water availability drive tea production is lacking in many regions. Here, we use satellite-derived observations to characterize the response of tea yield to water and heat stress from 2008 to 2016 across Kenya, the third largest producer of tea. We find that solar-induced fluorescence captures the interannual variability in tea yield remarkably well (Pearson’s correlation coefficient, r=0.93), and that these variations are largely driven by the daily dynamics of soil moisture and temperature. Considering rising temperature in isolation suggests that yields in 2040–2070 would decrease by 10% relative to 1990–2020 (ranging between −15% to −4% across 23 models), but most climate models also simulate an increase in soil moisture over this interval that would offset loss, such that yields decrease by only 5% (ranging between −12% to +1%). Our results suggest that adaptation strategies to better conserve soil moisture would help avert damage, but such changes require advanced planning due to the longevity of a tea plant, underscoring the importance of better predicting soil moisture over the coming decades.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
    S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
    Depositing User: Victor Ongoma
    Date Deposited: 01 May 2020 12:54
    Last Modified: 01 May 2020 12:54
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/12056
    UNSPECIFIED

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