Impact of climate change scenarios on the agroclimate of the Canadian prairies

SM McGinn*, A Shepherd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Regional climate change scenarios for the Canadian prairies were generated using historic weather data and daily data from two Canadian Climate Centre general circulation models (GCM). Model CGCM1-A was a recent version release while its predecessor was model GCMII. The GCM data were combined with historic values to generate two additional scenarios. All scenarios were used to drive the modified Versatile Soil Moisture Budget model that assessed soil moisture, aridity and other agroclimatic indices. The modelled results for all scenarios were compared to those using the historic climate data. The model predicted earlier seeding dates for spring wheat between 18 and 26 d. Early seeding and harvest was shown to be an appropriate adaptive strategy that avoided more and conditions in the late summer. The soil water deficit was lower under GCMII than historic values by 46 mm. For CGCM1-A, the soil water deficit was decreased by 8 mm across the Prairie Provinces compared to historic values. GCM scenarios predicted unchanged or increased soil water in the top 120 cm soil across the Canadian prairies compared to the historic scenario. There were some regions such as southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba where reductions in summer rainfall (for CGCM1-A) were large. These regions experienced the greatest benefit of earlier seeding dates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-630
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Soil Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


  • climate change
  • agriculture
  • aridity
  • growing degree-days
  • soil moisture
  • seeding date
  • harvest date


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