The Complicated Case of Global Warming’s Impact on Agriculture

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/YaleEnvironment360/~3/xpYDNGoT48c/

Scientists have long debated whether climate change could help or hurt the world’s agricultural systems. Theoretically, additional CO2 in the atmosphere should help fuel crop growth. Ananth BS A farmer plows his fields in southern India. But global warming’s other impacts, such as shifting rain patterns, higher temperatures, and extreme weather, could reduce crop yields. A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change by researchers in a half-dozen countries finds the answer depends on where you live. The scientists found yields of rain-fed wheat could increase by 10 percent, while irrigated wheat, the bulk of India and China’s production, could decline by 4 percent. Maize will decrease almost everywhere, down 8.5 percent. Rice and soybean could flourish in some areas and falter in others. “Most of the discussion around climate impacts focuses only on changes in temperature and precipitation,” said Delphine Deryng, an environmental scientist at Columbia University who led the study. “To adapt adequately, we need to understand all the factors involved.”

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