"Global agriculture faces a new climate reality"
NASA warns that climate change could affect the production of wheat and maize as early as 2030. This could lead to disastrous consequences for the global breadbasket.
The scientists published their findings in Nature Food, a journal that was published this week. They found that rising temperatures, carbon dioxide levels, and increased greenhouse gas emissions, along with shifts in rainfall, will have a devastating effect on crop yields. NASA researchers were shocked by the results.
Jonas Jgermeyr (climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies), said that we didn't expect to see such an important shift in crop yields compared to projections made from previous climate models and climate projections. Worldwide, a 20 percent drop in production could have serious implications.
To study the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions on climate, the team used climate simulations that were complex. The data was then used to run crop simulations that simulate how climate change, rainfall and CO2 levels might affect growth rates.
The 2030 forecast shows that maize yields will drop by 24 percent. Initial growth of wheat yields could be 17 percent, but they may stabilize by the middle of the century.
The paper's coauthor and codirector of GISS Climate Impacts group, Alex Ruane, stated that they were driving crop simulations which are actually growing virtual crops every day, using supercomputers.
Although the data showed clear effects of climate change on wheat and maize yields and other crops, models did not show clear results on their effects on soy and rice. However, even with extreme measures, the agricultural consequences could be severe.
Jgermeyr stated that even under optimistic climate change scenarios where societies make ambitious efforts to limit global temperatures rise, global agriculture faces a new climate reality. He noted that due to our global food system, any impact in one region breadbasket will be felt globally.
READ MORE: NASA warns of global climate change impact on crops within 10 years [NASA]
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