U.S. Crop Harvests Could Suffer with Climate Change

Wheat fields
Credit: Ian Sane Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

U.S. Crop Harvests Could Suffer with Climate Change

Future harvests of wheat, soybeans and corn could drop by 22 to 49 percent, mostly due to water stress

Shifting climate patterns in North America could hit U.S. crop production hard, possibly even halving the production of corn by the end of the century, a new study finds.

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The scarcity of water could be influenced by other consequences of climate change, like changes in precipitation patterns, as well as socio-economic factors like a higher demand for food, growth of the hydropower sector and population increase, said Erwan Monier, a principal research scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

"If there's no more water available for irrigation, the question becomes what would farmers do—they would either have to rely on rain-fed crops or move to a location where there's enough water for irrigation. If they shift to rain-fed crop management, there's going to be a significant decline in yield," he said.

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Source: Scientific American

Also covered by: E&E News, "U.S. crop harvests to 'suffer' with climate change"

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