2°C Global Warming Risks Crop Yields in Temperate, Tropical Regions By Start of 2030s – Study

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 17, 2014 12:22 PM EST

Crop yields in temperate and tropical regions stand to slow down in the face of global warming, even at just a rise of 2°C, a study showed.

Moreover, the research from the University of Leeds, published in Nature Climate Change, said the deceleration in crop yields could be felt as early as in the years 2030s.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
French wheat is loaded aboard the "Sammy" in the port of Dunkirk, northern France, December 11, 2013. The bulker will transport 63,000 tons of wheat to Egypt, the first sale of French wheat to the world's largest importer of the grain this season. Egypt's purchases will be key for French wheat exports in the second part of the season, analysts said. French farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday raised its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the European bloc by 600,000 tonnes at 11.8 million on Wednesday, up 19 percent on 2012/13. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

"Our research shows that crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected," Professor Andy Challinor of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study said in a statement. "Furthermore, the impact of climate change on crops will vary both from year-to-year and from place-to-place - with the variability becoming greater as the weather becomes increasingly erratic."

Some of the countries in the temperate regions include North America, most of Northern Mexico, Great Britain, Northern Asia, Southern Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and also South America. While countries in tropical regions include Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Kiribati, Palau, Peru, Bolovia and Brazil, among others.

The study combined and compared results from 1,700 published assessments of the impact of climate change on rice, maize and wheat yields.

Mr Challinor said they saw a shift in consensus, revealing that the impacts of climate change in temperate regions "will happen sooner rather than later."

"The overall picture remains negative, and we are now starting to see how research can support adaptation by avoiding the worse impacts."

Despite the adaptation techniques employed by farmers to mitigate the effects of climate change, "climate change means a less predictable harvest, with different countries winning and losing in different years," he said.

Greater agricultural transformations and innovations are needed if the world wants to ensure and safeguard crop yields for future generations, Mr Challinor said.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol / )
French wheat is loaded aboard the "Sammy" in the port of Dunkirk, northern France, December 11, 2013. The bulker will transport 63,000 tons of wheat to Egypt, the first sale of French wheat to the world's largest importer of the grain this season. Egypt's purchases will be key for French wheat exports in the second part of the season, analysts said. French farm office FranceAgriMer on Wednesday raised its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the European bloc by 600,000 tonnes at 11.8 million on Wednesday, up 19 percent on 2012/13. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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