Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New studies examine link between food crops and global warming

RedOrbit: In light of growing concern over the potential impact of climate change on the global agricultural industry, scientists are searching for new ways to help ensure global access to some of the most important food crops.

In one such study, Toshichika Iizumi of the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan and an international team of colleagues report they have discovered a way to use climate data to help predict some crop failures several months prior to harvest.

Iizumi’s team found there is a strong association between temperature and soil moisture and the yield of wheat and rice at harvest time in approximately one-third of the world’s cropland. For those two crops, computer models could be used to predict possible failures up to 12 weeks in advance for roughly 20 percent of global cropland, they explain in the latest edition of the journal Nature Climate Change.

“You can estimate ultimate yields according to the climatic condition several months before,” Molly Brown, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Biospheric Sciences Laboratory and a co-author on the study, said in a statement. “From the spring conditions, the preexisting conditions, the pattern is set.”

...“This is a major step forward in the global effort to make our food crops more resilient to the effects of climate change,” said Andy Jarvis, head of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture’s Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area, which conducted the research. “Crop wild relatives are a potential treasure trove of useful characteristics that scientists can put to good use for making agriculture more resilient and improving the livelihoods of millions of people.”...

Dried millet, shot by Christophe MOUSTIER, Wikimedia Commons. The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.

No comments: