What Causes Crop Failure?
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- Mendelsohn, R. Climatic Change (2007) 81: 61. doi:10.1007/s10584-005-9009-y
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One of the banes of farming is the frequent complete loss of crops due to adverse weather conditions or pests. In this paper, we explore what causes catastrophic crop failures. The study demonstrates that 39% of the variation in expected crop failure rates across the United States can be explained by soils and climate. The analysis shows that precipitation, soils, and especially temperature all explain average crop failure rates. Surprisingly, the analysis did not suggest that annual warming would increase crop failure rates. However, decreases in annual precipitation or increases in interannual or diurnal variation would all be harmful to crops.