Climate change will have an impact on crop growth by 2030: study

A study led by NASA and published in the scientific journal Nature Food on Monday found that global crop production may change dramatically by 2030.

In warmer weather conditions, maize crop yields are projected to decline by 24%, while wheat production may grow by around 17% by 2030.

The research was carried out by inputting five climate models into 12 state-of-the-art global crop models, and ended with around 240 global crop climate model simulations for each crop.

Rising global temperatures are related to changes in rainfall patterns, the frequency and duration of heat waves and droughts, the length of growing seasons, and the speed of crop growth, all of which can affect critically the health and productivity of crops.

“We did not expect to see such a fundamental change, compared to the previous generation crop and climate model crop yield projections made in 2014,” said lead author Jonas Jägermeyr, a crop modeler and climate scientist at the Institute of the Columbia University Land. in New York City, he told

“A 20% decrease from current production levels could have serious consequences worldwide,” added Jägermeyr. Corn, known colloquially as corn, grows all over the world, although especially in countries near the equator. Corn-producing regions in North and Central America, West Africa, Central Asia, Brazil, and China may see their corn yields decline in the coming years as average temperatures rise in these major food producers, known as regions of the “barn”.

In contrast, wheat grows best in temperate climates and will therefore potentially be grown in new places as temperatures rise, such as North America, Central Asia, South Australia, and East Africa.

Plane releases herbicides on crops, illustrative (credit: PXHERE)

Temperature is not the only factor to consider when simulating future crop yields: carbon dioxide levels have a positive effect on photosynthesis and water retention, increasing crop yield, although it often has a cost for nutrition. This effect is more prevalent in wheat than in corn, which is accurately captured by the researchers.

While the models do not address economic incentives, changing agricultural practices, and developments in crop cultivation (such as growing more robust crop varieties), it remains an area of ​​active research.

The research team plans to analyze these angles in follow-up work, as these factors will further determine the fate of future agricultural yields.

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