Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Warming Planet Will Soon Produce Water Shortages, Scattered but More Severe and Lasting, that May Double Its Effects on Agriculture-- Study

Corn field. A warmer world is expected to have severe consequences for global agriculture and food supply, reducing yields of major crops even as population and demand increases. (Credit: © Tony Campbell / Fotolia) Click to enlarge.
Water shortages already put stress on people's lives in many countries today.  Climate change due to unabated greenhouse gas emissions is likely to confront 40 percent more people with chronic water scarcity within a few decades.

A new analysis combining climate, agricultural, and hydrological models finds that shortages of freshwater used for irrigation could double the detrimental effects of climate change on agriculture.

Given the present trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural models estimate that climate change will directly reduce food production from maize, soybeans, wheat and rice by as much as 43 percent by the end of the 21st century.  But hydrological models looking at the effect of warming climate on freshwater supplies project further agricultural losses, due to the reversion of 20 to 60 million hectares of currently irrigated fields back to rain-fed crops.

Lost Freshwater May Double Climate Change Effects on Agriculture

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