Potential Impacts of Climate Change on UK Potato Production

Olufemi Samson Adesina *

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

Brian Thomas

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This study assessed the potential impacts of climate change on potato production in the United Kingdom. Climate change actions are becoming a nightmare for growers worldwide, and the British potato industry is not an exception. Extreme weather conditions were experienced in 2006, 2012, and 2018, respectively. Thus, this study identified the future climate risk associated with major potato producing regions in the UK using the recent climate projection weather data (UKCP18) based on RCP 8.5. In total, the study considered seven (7) regions with a minimum average of 3000 hectares of potato planted area in the past five years. Findings showed that drought, high temperatures, and prolonged precipitation caused significant yield and quality loss in the past, with a likelihood of causing a more harmful impact in the future. The analysis revealed a hotter (Tmax ≥ 25°C, Tmin ≥ 15°C) and drier (1-1.5 mm day-1) summer most especially in the EE, EM, SW, WM, and YH as well as a warmer (Tmax& Tmin 6-10°C) and wetter winter (5 mm day-1 on average) in Scotland and North West England respectively. Future climate is predicted to hinder land preparation and harvesting operation in the Northern regions while the EE, EM, SW, WM, and YH would be faced with drought, with irrigation and water demand increasing by 20-30% as evapotranspiration also increases by 20-30% in 2050-2080. Irrigated potatoes are predicted to double its current spatial coverage in the future. The study identified suitable adaptation measures and strategies required to reduce the impacts of climate change on the British potato industry.

Keywords: Climate change, potato production, extreme weather, climate projections, UK.

How to Cite

Adesina, O. S., & Thomas, B. (2020). Potential Impacts of Climate Change on UK Potato Production. International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, 10(4), 39–52. https://doi.org/10.9734/ijecc/2020/v10i430194


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