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Publication | 29 April 2021

Climate Change and Future Crop Suitability in Zambia

Global Food and Nutrition Security

The likely effects of climate change are not fully consistent between each of Zambia’s ten provinces or the crops assessed, however, several general observations can be made. For example, all provinces in the study area are predicted to experience increasing temperatures throughout the year, indicated by increased average monthly ‘Mean Temperature’ as well as average ‘Minimum Temperature’. Furthermore, all provinces are predicted to experience increasing delays or inconsistencies in the onset of rainfall, and an overall decrease in the annual and seasonal precipitation between the present day and the ‘Mid-Century’ future (defined by the period ~2040–2069). Average monthly rainfall is predicted to decrease in all provinces, including during the months of September, October and November which are considered to be the start of the rainy season. These results may be indicative of a delay in the onset of the traditional rainy seasons, or alternatively a decrease in the effective duration of the rainy season. Overall, the predicted trend for annual precipitation is a long-term trend of decreasing rainfall, as well as possible shifts in the timing of rainy seasons. Modelled predictions for 2 RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS national average precipitation indicate a decrease of mean annual rainfall from ~970 mm to ~880 mm, representing a decrease of ~88 mm or 9%.