Seems like there isn’t any part of our daily lives where global warming doesn’t rear its ugly head. According to researchers, vegetables are expected to go scarcer all over the world due to global warming and the only way out of this would be to develop new growing practices and resilient crop varieties.
Researchers have predicted that by the end of this century, the average yield of vegetables will be cut down by almost one-third due to the combined effect of less water and hotter air in the report that was presented in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An increase in temperature by 4 degrees Celsius, which scientists expect by 2100 if global warming continues on its current trajectory, will reduce average yields by 31.5%, according to the report.
Impact on food security
“Our study shows that environmental changes such as increased temperature and water scarcity may pose a real threat to global agricultural production, with likely further impacts on food security and population health,” said lead author Pauline Scheelbeek of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, to TOI.
The regions, researchers say that might be more affected are Southern Europe, large parts of Africa and South Asia. The findings are based on a systematic review of 174 studies that were aimed at examining the impact of environmental exposures on yield and nutritional content of vegetables and legumes since 1975. A few of the previous researches have pointed to a likely increase in crop yields due to the increase in carbon dioxide levels, but the current review has found that if in case there is a such a boost, it would be canceled out by higher greenhouse gases, reduced water availability for irrigation and rising temperatures.
“Need to be a priority”
“We have brought together all the available evidence on the impact of environmental change on yields and quality of vegetables and legumes for the first time,” reported senior author Alan Dangour, also of LSHTM. “Urgent action needs to be taken, including working to support the agriculture sector to increase its resilience to environmental changes and this must be a priority for governments across the world.”
Another study in PNAS found that the rising temperatures will increase the volatility of corn, the most widely grown crop on earth. This came as a confirmation of prior studies that showed that global warming would result in the likely cutting back on corn growth. The studies also showed that heat waves may boost inconsistency and volatility across various regions from year to year, leading to hikes in vegetable prices and global shortages.
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