Study by N. Ramankutty et. al. may help guide agricultural priorities in climate change
Over the past five decades, drought and extreme heat events substantially damaged agricultural production across the globe, finds a new study published in Nature this week. Climate models suggest that extreme weather events are likely to become more common and severe in the future, but the global impacts of these events on agriculture have not been quantified until now.
Navin Ramankutty and colleagues used a dataset of about 2,800 extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and extreme temperature events — reported between 1964 and 2007 from 177 countries to quantify the global effects of these events on food production, crop area and crop yields. They show that droughts and extreme heat events reduced average national cereal production by 9–10%, whereas no discernible effect could be identified from floods or extreme cold events. They find that, although drought reduced cereal yield and crop area, extreme heat mainly affected crop yield. In addition, developed nations are shown to suffer the most from these extreme events, with 8–11% more damage compared to developing nations.
Although further studies are needed, the authors propose that these results may help guide agricultural priorities in a changing climate.
Press release by Nature.com. Article fallowing soon.
IWE Berlin, 04.01.2016
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