Friday, February 01, 2008

Climate Change and Crops

Climate change could cause severe crop losses in South Asia and southern Africa over the next twenty years, a study in the journal Science says.

The findings suggest southern Africa could lose more than 30% of its main crop, maize, by 2030. In South Asia losses of many regional staples, such as rice, millet and maize could top 10%.

"For poor farmers on the margin of survival, these losses could really be crushing," said co-author Marshall Burke, also of Stanford University.

The study used computer models to assess the impact of climate change on farming in 12 world regions where the bulk of the world's malnourished people live. This included much of Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Central and South America. All the models agree that there will be adverse effects on maize in southern Africa and rice in South-East Asia, but the picture is less certain in other areas such as parts of West Africa where it is unclear how global warming will impact the local climate.

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