Climate Change Will Theaten Crop Yields
"Climate change is not just in the future. It's happening now," according to Cynthia Rosenzweig, a NASA scientist and cochair of an international panel on climate change.
Groups around the world are concerned that climate change will drastically affect crop growth. The International Rice Research Institute warms that shorter growing seasons in the tropics will reduce yields. Another research group forecasts a 51% decline in India's cropland available for wheat growing by 2050 due to hotter and drier weather.
Countries closest to the equater will likely suffer the most. Places like Tanzania and Mozambique will have more drought and shorter growing seasons. Flooding in coastal areas will hurt countries such as Bangladesh and Colombia.
On the other hand, more northerly countries could benefit from increased cropland in areas that were previously frostbound.
Researchers are developing crops that are more resistant to heat, drought and flooding, but there are limits to the ability of new varieties to counteract teh effects of heat, drought and submergence.
Researchers and meteorologists are working with farmers to make better planting decisions to maximize yields and minimize their impact on the environment. But the challanges of global warming remain daunting.