Climate Change Will Cut Corn Yields by a Quarter by 2030, NASA Says
Global corn yields could sink by nearly a quarter by 2030 as climate change wreaks havoc on traditional weather patterns.
That’s according to a new international study from groups including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Rising temperatures and shifts in rainfall will make it harder to grow the crop — a staple in global livestock rations — in areas like the Americas, West Africa, and China. And the production cuts are occurring sooner than expected versus past studies.
Researchers found rising temperatures and shifts in rainfall and human-made greenhouse gas emissions, which have already begun to cause effects, will make it harder to grow corn, and production cuts are occurring sooner than expected as compared to past studies, reported Bloomberg.
The study revealed the production cuts are going to affect several other staple products as well. However, the results for corn and wheat yields were clearer.
Wheat yields, it said, could significantly climb till 2030 as warming weather expands suitable growing areas for the crop, including the northern United States, Canada, the plains of north China, central Asia, and others. However, these gains are likely to level off by mid-century.
“Even under optimistic climate change scenarios, where societies enact ambitious efforts to limit global temperature rise, global agriculture is facing a new climate reality,” lead author Jonas Jaegermeyr said in a statement. “And with the interconnectedness of the global food system, impacts in even one region’s breadbasket will be felt worldwide.”
Meanwhile, wheat yields could climb 17% over the same span as the warming weather expands suitable growing areas. Those gains are likely to level off by mid-century, according to the study. Wheat also fares better than corn from rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, although that can come at the cost of the crop’s nutritional value.
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