Little time for farmers to deal with rainfall changes from global warming, study says
A radical decrease in greenhouse gas emissions is needed if farmers are to have time to prepare for major changes in rainfall that could decimate crops, researchers said in a report released on Monday.
Already wet areas will see more rain and dry areas will get drier at a pace determined by emissions levels, researchers said in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”
These changes will happen regardless of action taken on climate change, but by curbing emissions, countries can buy time to adapt to new rainfall levels.
For this study, researchers looked at wheat, soybeans, rice and maize, crops that make up about 40pc of the global caloric intake, under different emission scenarios.
“I think it’s worrying,” lead author Maisa Rojas, professor of climatology at the University of Chile told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Even in the low-emission scenarios you see the time of emergence now or very soon.”
“Time of emergence” is the year a region’s normal fluctuations in rainfall shift dramatically.
Most of the crops consumed around the world are produced by rain fed-agriculture, according to the International Water Management Institute, a nonprofit science research organization.