Climate change could raise food insecurity risk

April 1, 2018, University of Exeter
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Weather extremes caused by climate change could raise the risk of food shortages in many countries, new research suggests.

The study, led by the University of Exeter, examined how could affect the vulnerability of different countries to - when people lack access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Scientists looked at the difference between of 1.5°C and 2°C (compared to pre-industrial levels) and found that - despite increased vulnerability to food insecurity in both scenarios - the effects would be worse for most countries at 2°C.

The study looked at 122 developing and least-developed countries, mostly in Asia, Africa and South America.

"Climate change is expected to lead to more extremes of both heavy rainfall and drought, with different effects in different parts of the world," said Professor Richard Betts, Chair in Climate Impacts at the University of Exeter.

"Such can increase vulnerability to food insecurity.

"Some change is already unavoidable, but if global warming is limited to 1.5°C, this vulnerability is projected to remain smaller than at 2°C in approximately 76% of developing countries."

Warming is expected to lead to on average - with floods putting food production at risk - but agriculture could also be harmed by more frequent and prolonged droughts in some areas.

Wetter conditions are expected to have the biggest impact in South and East Asia, with the most extreme projections suggesting the flow of the River Ganges could more than double at 2°C global warming.

The areas worst affected by droughts are expected to be southern Africa and South America - where flows in the Amazon are projected to decline by up to 25%.

The researchers examined projected changes in weather extremes and their implications for freshwater availability and vulnerability to food insecurity.

The team included researchers from the Met Office, the European Commission, the Technical University of Crete, Cranfield University and the Rossby Centre in Sweden.

The paper, published in a special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, is entitled: "Changes in climate extremes, fresh water availability and to food insecurity projected at 1.5°C and 2°C global warming with a higher-resolution global climate model."

Explore further: Climate change impacts already locked in—but the worst can still be avoided

More information: "Changes in climate extremes, fresh water availability and vulnerability to food insecurity projected at 1.5°C and 2°C global warming with a higher-resolution global climate model." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (2018). DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0452

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grandpa
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 01, 2018
So a rapid elimination of oil, natural gas, and coal would not be disruptive to energy producing nations? We live in a chaotic system. How can predictions like this be made at all. All any of us can do is go about our daily business and adjust, adjust, adjust.
antigoracle
1.9 / 5 (9) Apr 01, 2018
Uh huh, and the AGW Cult's "BRILLIANT" idea to produce bio-fuels from food crops does not affect food insecurity?
Caliban
5 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2018
Uh huh, and the AGW Cult's "BRILLIANT" idea to produce bio-fuels from food crops does not affect food insecurity?


Yep. Crop-derived biofuels are nothing more than a subsidized sop to BigAg and the fossil-fuel fertilizer and pesticide/herbicide industry, which turns excess production into a cash crop, while at the same time artificially increasing the price of food crops by eliminating the surplus supply.

Neat trick, eh goaticle?
Caliban
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2018
So a rapid elimination of oil, natural gas, and coal would not be disruptive to energy producing nations? We live in a chaotic system. How can predictions like this be made at all. All any of us can do is go about our daily business and adjust, adjust, adjust.


Of course --if it isn't coupled with a strategy for transitioning to renewable energy.

I wonder how it is that this fact escapes your understanding?

Rhetorical question, of course.
Shootist
1.3 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2018
Climate Change could usher in a new golden age. (warmer has historically been kinder to humans than cold).

Hug a fracker today.
TMcGrath
1 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2018
One of the results of a climate that is always changing is an ever adapting flora. This can be both good and bad, depending on the situation. As the planet warms, areas around the equator will become less arable, which is not a good thing. While other areas further north and south, once locked in permafrost, becomes more arable, which is a good thing. The bigger question is: Are we as adaptable as the plant-life, will we change with our every changing climate? Or will we continue to insist that humanity is the cause of all climate and only if humanity ceases all activity everywhere on the planet can we have a completely static climate? I suspect we will continue with the latter rather than the former.
Turgent
1 / 5 (1) Apr 02, 2018
The optimistic side is it could do the exact opposite. AGW would, could, should, may expand the arable land for grains across central Asia, Urals to Vladivostok.
Turgent
3 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2018
Being that most of humanity is in the temperate zones the greatest risk belongs to a year without a summer, 1815. One massive crop failure would be catastrophic.
There is no strategic reserve for food. To the best of my knowledge warming has only been beneficial. We could add old English wines to the menu. Exceptional warming has yet to produce conditions like those just prior to the French Revolution.
dudester
5 / 5 (2) Apr 03, 2018
While those above who are touting the abilities of the northern and southern latitudes as agricultural regions might not actually be flat earthers, they might be forgetting that nevertheless the earth is indeed round. And therefore, at those latitudes, farmland would actually receive the same amount of solar radiation they do now independent of climate (even cloud cover allows UV rays through). So unless you have a bunch of GMO plants on hand in your lab that are different from the vast majority of other plants these past billions of years and are able to carry on high levels of metabolic activity in the absence of photosynthetic processes-- i.e. the capture of solar energy inside organelles called chloroplasts and then using that energy to produce sugar from CO2 which then, with water and soil nutrients/microbiomes (all which become variable with climate), fuels all their other biochemical processes-- like releasing oxygen and sexual reproduction (the latter which we call food).

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