Global Warming

Food vs Climate

A new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that it will be impossible to keep temperatures down under climate change unless there is a transformation in the way the world feeds itself and manages land use.

Because how we now grow crops and livestock causes a third of total greenhouse gas emissions to come from the soil, the report says land will have to be managed in more sustainable ways.

It also says the way we eat has to change, such as shifting our diets away from meat. A reversal of deforestation is also required.

Global Warming

Climate change is already affecting global food production – unequally

The world’s top 10 crops — barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat — supply a combined 83 percent of all calories produced on cropland. Yields have long been projected to decrease in future climate conditions. Now, new research shows climate change has already affected production of these key energy sources — and some regions and countries are faring far worse than others.

Published in PLOS ONE, the University of Minnesota-led study, conducted with researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Copenhagen, used weather and reported crop data to evaluate the potential impact of observed climate change. The researchers found that:

– observed climate change causes 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 percent (-3.5 X 10e13 kcal/year) of consumable food calories from these top 10 crops;

– impacts of climate change on global food production are mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa, and Australia, generally positive in Latin America, and mixed in Asia and Northern and Central America;

– half of all food-insecure countries are experiencing decreases in crop production — and so are some affluent industrialized countries in Western Europe;

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

Marine Species More Vulnerable to Global Warming Than Terrestrial Species

A new study published in the journal Nature reveals that marine species may be more susceptible to global warming effects — specifically increases in temperatures — than land creatures.

All organisms, whether you’re warm-blooded or cold-blooded, have this range of temperatures that you can tolerate before your body starts to shut down and experience serious physiological stress — a lower bound and an upper bound. And so with warming, we’re mostly concerned about the upper bound because these temperatures are getting hotter and hotter.

The scientists compiled the upper thermal limits for 406 total ectothermic species — 88 marine and 318 terrestrial — and assessed their position relative to the temperature threshold before they would begin to experience heat shock or heat stroke.

It turned out that in the ocean, marine animals were sitting much closer to that maximum, much closer to this ceiling where they would overheat and get into a real physiological stressful situation than terrestrial animals were, on average — which means that there is then less buffering for them to get to these overheating points in the ocean.

In addition, the scientists found that local species extinctions in the ocean occurred at twice the rate than those on land. Marine organisms may also have heightened vulnerability and sensitivity to thermal stress because they experience less thermal variability on average than do land creatures. During the transition from winter to summer or even across the duration of a day, a temperature logger tracks noticeably greater changes on land than in water.

Marine species haven’t needed to worry about temperature fluctuations as much, leaving them more disadvantaged to deal with the rapidly rising ocean temperatures.

Global Warming

Dire Warning For Food Production As Climate Becomes Warmer

A report which examines the effect of climate change on some of Australia’s most common agricultural products – including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, seafood and meat – paints a dire prediction of future production in a warming world.

The Appetite for Change study suggests farming will need to relocate to new regions and find new drought-tolerant varieties or face much reduced, or poorer quality yields for many of the country’s key agricultural products.

Wine grapes

– Up to 70 per cent of Australia’s winegrowing regions with a Mediterranean climate will be less suitable for grape growing by 2050.

– Iconic grape-growing regions, such as Margaret River in WA, the Barossa and Riverland in SA, Sunraysia in Victoria, and the Riverina in NSW, will be the most affected by higher temperatures and lower rainfall, especially for red varieties such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

– Conditions for wine growing will improve in places like Tasmania.

Scallops

– Southern scallops are fished in Victoria and Tasmania, seas off southeast Australia are warming faster than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere.

– Warmer water, together with changes in oxygen and food, may mean southern scallops effectively disappear from our plates.

– Both northern (Saucer scallops) and southern scallops will have to cope with more acidic seawater, which is likely to thin their shells, reduce their growth, survival and reproductive success and make them less able to elude predators.

Dairy

– Milk volume and quality for cheese production is likely to be affected by warmer temperatures and increased frequency of heatwaves.

– Heat stress on dairy cows typically reduces milk yield by 10 to 25 per cent, and as much as 40 per cent in extreme heatwaves.

– Heatwaves also reduce pasture quality, leading to a decline in the quality of milk for cheese production

Peaches

– Without enough winter chill, flowering is disrupted, leading to lower yields of fruit.

– Climate change effects on peach growing will differ greatly among regions.

– Minimal impacts anticipated for Tasmania.

– South-west of Western Australia expected to experience notable declines in cold weather.

Drought

Despite rain in some areas, the drought in the US continues to cause concern for farmers and food production. Over a recent six-week stretch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 1,692 counties as disaster areas due to the drought. About 80% of agricultural land in the country is affected. The summer’s extreme drought is on track to being one of the nation’s costliest natural disasters since 1980.