Vulnerability of global agricultural to climate change may be underestimated
by experts, warns a trio of papers published in week’s issue of the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The research says that "progressive
changes predicted to stem from 1- to 5-degree C temperature rises in coming
decades fail to account for seasonal extremes of heat, drought or rain,
multiplier effects of spreading diseases or weeds, and other ecological upsets,"
according to a statement from Columbia University's Earth Institute.
"Many people assume that we will never have a problem with food production on a
global scale. But there is a strong potential for negative surprises," said
Francesco Tubiello, a physicist and agricultural expert at the NASA/Goddard
Institute of Space Studies who coauthored all three papers.
The researchers say that current grain production—from which humans derive
two-thirds of their ...