Climate change affecting food production globally

Washington: While climate change might find a close association with rising sea levels or high air pollution, a new study shows that climate change has affected the production of world’s top ten crops in certain regions.

Barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat which together makes the World’s top 10 crops, are known to provide a combined 83 per cent of all calories produced on the cropland.

The study also highlights that the effect in some regions and countries are faring far worse than others.

Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the study analyzed the weather and crop data to evaluate the potential impact of observed climate change.

The findings indicated that the observed climate change caused a significant yield variation in the world’s top 10 crops, ranging from a decrease of 13.4 percent for oil palm to an increase of 3.5 percent for soybean, and resulting in an average reduction of approximately one per cent (-3.5 X 10e13 kcal/year) of consumable food calories from these top 10 crops.

The study also highlighted that the impact is mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia, generally positive in Latin America, while mixed in Asia and Northern and Central America.

Also, half of all the food-insecure countries are experiencing a decrease in crop production and so are some affluent industrialized countries in Western Europe.

To the contrary, the recent climate change has increased the yields of certain crops in some areas of the upper Midwest United States.

These findings indicate which geographical areas and crops are most at risk, making them relevant to those working to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger and limiting the effects of climate change.

“This is a very complex system, so a careful statistical and data science modeling component is crucial to understand the dependencies and cascading effects of small or large changes,” says co-author Snigdhansu Chatterjee, University of Minnesota.

“The research documents how change is already happening, not just in some future time,” said lead-author Deepak Ray, University of Minnesota.