Climate Change Will Start to Affect Crop Yields in 2030

3/19/2014 12:34:15 PM

Climate change will hurt wheat, rice and corn crop outputs by 2030, according to a University of Leeds study based on climate models and crop-productivity research.

"Crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected," Andy Challinor, a Leeds professor and lead author of the study, said in a statement on the university's website.

Researchers estimate cumulative wheat, corn and rice production losses with local climate warming of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit -- if farmers don't take adaptation measures, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Corn crops. (Credit: Flickr/Alternative Heat)

According to the study, crop losses are estimated to be higher in the second half of the 21st century -- with yield declines greater than 25 percent -- and more prevalent in tropical regions. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis that analyzes data from previous studies of more than 1,700 assessments on climate change's impact on corn, wheat and rice yields.

"Climate change means a less predictable harvest, with different countries winning and losing in different years," Challinor said. "The overall picture remains negative, and we are now starting to see how research can support adaptation by avoiding the worst impacts" (Rudy Ruitenberg, Bloomberg, March 17).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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