Climate Change Already Hurting Agriculture
May 10th, 2011
A Sara Reardon article published by Science magazine on 5 May on how Climate Change is something we need to deal with right now.
Everyday news and science research journals stress the urgent matter of climate change and make burning predictions of droughts, see temperatures warming, ecosystem changes, coastal flooding, food shortages.
But climate change is not the future, it is something we have to cope with now, and this article aims to bring this to light.
Climate change is already harming agriculture and is then “not something we have to anticipate. It’s something we have to learn from and deal with right now”, as David Lobell, an agricultural scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, warns.
Lobell and colleagues analyzed agricultural records of corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans from 1980 to 2008. Those four crops make up 75% of the calories consumed by the world’s population. Using historical weather data on temperature and precipitation, the researchers constructed a trend line of weather patterns, controlling for a certain amount of seasonal variation, and linked it to crop data year by year. They also constructed a second trend line that assumed no warming during the period, and then compared the two.