Cli­mate change will re­duce crop yield sooner than thought - re­searchers

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Ojoma Akor

A re­cent study by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Leeds, United King­dom, has shown that global warm­ing of only two de­gree Cel­sius will be detri­men­tal to crops in tem­per­ate and trop­i­cal re­gions, with re­duced yields from the 2030s on­wards.

In the study pub­lished by the jour­nal Na­ture Cli­mate Change, the re­searchers cre­ated a new data set by com­bin­ing and com­par­ing re­sults from 1,700 pub­lished as­sess­ments of the re­sponse that cli­mate change will have on the yields of rice, maize and wheat.

Due to in­creased in­ter­est in cli­mate change re­search, the new study was able to cre­ate the largest dataset to date on crop re­sponses.

Pro­fes­sor Andy Challi­nor, from the School of Earth and En­vi­ron­ment at the Univer­sity of Leeds and lead au­thor of the study, said: “Our re­search shows that crop yields will be neg­a­tively af­fected by cli­mate change much ear­lier than ex­pected.”

“Fur­ther­more, the im­pact of cli­mate change on crops will vary both from year-toyear and from place-to-place -- with the vari­abil­ity be­com­ing greater as the weather be­comes in­creas­ingly er­ratic.”

The re­searchers state that we will see, on aver­age, an in­creas­ingly neg­a­tive im­pact of cli­mate change on crop yields from the 2030s on­wards. The im­pact will be great­est in the sec­ond half of the century, when de­creases of over 25% will be­come in­creas­ingly com­mon.

From the re­search, later in the century, greater agri­cul­tural trans­for­ma­tions and in­no­va­tions will be needed in or­der to safe­guard crop yields for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“Cli­mate change means a less pre­dictable har­vest, with dif­fer­ent coun­tries win­ning and los­ing in dif­fer­ent years. The over­all pic­ture re­mains neg­a­tive, and we are now start­ing to see how re­search can sup­port adap­ta­tion by avoid­ing the worse im­pacts,” con­cludes Pro­fes­sor Challi­nor.

Com­ment­ing on the study, Dr. Moses Ade­bayo of the Depart­ment of Crop Pro­duc­tion and Soil Sci­ence, Ladoke Ak­in­tola Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy Og­bo­moso, Oyo State, said sev­eral re­cent stud­ies have ex­pressed the same con­cern and he and some re­searchers (Ade­bayo et al 2014) have re­ported a maize yield re­duc­tion of over 70% due to se­vere drought this year.

He said a study by Reynolds and Or­tiz in 2010 pre­dicted that be­gin­ning from 2030; de­vel­op­ing coun­tries will be most ad­versely af­fected by cli­mate change and an­other by Cam­pos and oth­ers in 2004 ex­pressed worry that with global cli­mate change and its at­ten­dant rise in tem­per­a­tures, sig­nif­i­cant yield losses will be ex­pected in maize.

He said: “Ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC, 2009), ris­ing tem­per­a­tures, drought, floods, de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion and weather ex­tremes are some of the in­di­ca­tors of cli­mate change that will se­verely af­fect agri­cul­ture, par­tic­u­larly in the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.”

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