Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Climate trends/projections

26 August 2020

This paper addresses recent concerns about RCP8.5, a climate scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based on an assumption of high levels of fossil fuel use. A recent commentary argues that RCP8.5 was originally intended to explore an unlikely future with no climate mitigation, but that it is now commonly referred to as a “business as usual” scenario by the media. In response, this paper argues that RCP8.5 is indeed a good match for current and stated climate policies up until 2050.

12 May 2020

The average number of days that US farm workers spend working in dangerously hot conditions could double by mid-century and triple by the end of the century, according to this paper. Workplace adaptations such as longer rest breaks, working more slowly, switching to single-layer clothing and having cooled rest areas could tackle this problem, but would negatively affect farm productivity, worker earnings and labour costs.

5 May 2020

This paper uses temperature and precipitation projections across the ranges of over 30,000 species on land and in water to estimate when each species will be exposed to dangerous climate conditions. It predicts that most species within a given assemblage (group of species within a habitat) will encounter inhospitable climate conditions at the same time as each other (e.g. several species might have a similar upper limit on the temperature that they are able to cope with), meaning that disruption of the overall assemblage is likely to be abrupt.

24 February 2020

This explainer from Carbon Brief outlines nine interlinked “tipping points” where climate warming could trigger an abrupt change. They include disintegration of ice sheets, changes in ocean circulation, thawing of permafrost, and dieback of ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest and coral reefs.

20 January 2020

According to the Global Risks Report 2020 by the global NGO World Economic Forum, the five risks with the greatest likelihood of happening all relate to the environment (as opposed to the economy, society, geopolitics or technology). The five risks are: extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters.

2 December 2019

This commentary reviews the evidence on climate tipping points - i.e. irreversible (on a human timescale) and abrupt shifts from one climate state to another - and concludes that several interlinked tipping points could be already active or very near to being triggered. Cutting emissions could still slow down the rate at which the tipping points operate, the authors argue.

11 November 2019

In this blog post, Asaf Tzachor of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge describes four pathways by which the global food system could collapse. He calls for greater awareness that interactions between different processes (such as ocean acidification, climate change, wildfires and plant diseases) could lead to vicious cycles, and argues that policymakers should seek leverage points in the food system.

4 November 2019

This paper models the changes in vegetation and agricultural land use that might be expected if action is not taken to mitigate climate change. Temperatures in the UK would increase by around 5.4°C in the growing season and 4.7°C out of the growing season by the end of the century. The growing season would become drier by around 37% and the non-growing season would become 7% wetter, with drying being less pronounced in the north of the UK than the rest of the country.

2 October 2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a special report reviewing the impacts of climate change on the oceans and cryosphere (ice gaps, glaciers and frozen ground), incorporating evidence that has been published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. It finds that climate change has shrunk ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice as well as heated permafrost (ground that normally remains frozen all year).

11 June 2019

This paper finds that production of the top ten global crops has already been affected by climate change, with mixed impacts across both crop type and geographical area. Oil palm has seen a 13% decrease in yields relative to those that would have been seen under historical climate conditions, while soybean has seen a 4% increase.

29 May 2019

This book, edited by Mirza Hasanuzzaman, Kamrun Nahar and Mohammad Amzad Hossain, provides a comprehensive overview of the response of wheat cultivation to changing environmental conditions, including extreme temperatures, drought and ultra-violet radiation.

13 May 2019

Extreme climate events such as droughts and heat waves are better predictors of yield anomalies than indicators of climate averages in maize, rice and soybeans, according to this paper. Irrigation can mitigate the negative yield impacts of frequent warm days.

20 March 2019

This paper uses climate models to estimate that average precipitation across many crop production areas will change by more than natural variability throughout the 21st century. Changes are seen even if emissions are relatively low, but meeting the Paris climate goals could reduce the extent of cropland that is affected.

12 March 2019

This paper retrospectively models the impacts of ocean warming on the productivity of 235 fish populations around the world representing around one third of reported global catch. It uses a temperature-dependent population model to estimate that the overall maximum sustainable yield of the fish populations dropped by 4.1% between 1930 and 2010.

12 March 2019

This paper models the impacts that the Paris Agreement on climate change would have on seafood production. It finds that three quarters of maritime countries would benefit from the Agreement’s implementation.

4 February 2019

This report from The Lancet Commission identifies the drivers behind what it terms ‘The Global Syndemic’, i.e. co-occurring pandemics, of obesity, undernutrition and climate change. The report finds that no country has successfully reversed its epidemic of obesity because the underlying causes have not been solved.

22 January 2019

The ongoing government shutdown in the United States means that several databases and websites with agricultural and climate data are currently unavailable. Gro Intelligence is offering free subscriptions to its web app during the shutdown. The web app provides global food and agriculture data.

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