My last post discussed some recent research we conducted on the impacts of biotechnology adoption on corn yields. A reader forwarded a link to a recent paper in the journal Nature Climate Change raising an issue I hadn't yet heard about. Using some simulations, the authors argue that increased solar radiation, which led to brighter skies, has had a big impact on recent increases in corn yields.
Here's the abstract:
I don't know enough about the issue to speak to the credibility of the authors' findings. However, I not sure that this is much of a confound for our study on biotech adoption because our estimated effects are (partially) identified by using variation in yields across states that have differential adoption rates (and yet are presumably exposed to the same solar radiation). To the extent that identification our effects of biotech adoption come about from comparisons of yields in the same counties over time (where solar radiation varied over time), this could be an issue, but again, the time trend included in our models should pick up this effect as well.