Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version



Published in Climatic Change 23 (1993), pp. 21–36.


U.S. Government Work


The potential direct effects of possible global warming on summer season dairy production and re-production were evaluated for the United States and Europe. Algorithms used for milk production and conception rate were previously developed and validated. Three widely known global circulation models (GISS, GFDL, and UKMO) were used to represent possible scenarios of future climate. Milk production and conception rate declines were highest under the UKMO model scenario and lowest under the GISS model scenario. Predicted declines for the GCM scenarios are generally higher than either “l year in 10” probability-based declines or declines based on the abnormally hot summer of 1980 in the United States. The greatest declines (about 10% for the GISS and GFDL scenarios, and about 20% for the UKMO scenario) in the United States are predicted to occur in the Southeast and the Southwest. Substantial declines (up to 35%) in conception rates were also predicted in many locations, particularly the eastern and southern United States. These areas correspond to areas of high dairy cattle concentration. They already have relatively large summer season milk production declines resulting from normal1y hot conditions. Thus, the actual impacts of increased production declines may be greater in other areas, which are not accustomed to large summer season declines and therefore may require more extensive mitigation measures.