Global Change in Winter Climate and Agricultural Sustainability
Earth’s climate and especially average global temperature, has changed significantly in the past 30 years as a result of increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations. Average temperature has increased more in the northern latitudes than in mid latitudes or low latitudes, and will continue to increase for the next 20–30 years even if GHG concentrations are capped at current concentrations. Precipitation patterns including rain and snowfall have also changed, as has the duration of growing seasons with spring and fall becoming longer and winter becoming shorter. The impact of future climate change on agricultural sustainability depends on how human society responds to this challenge. In the near future with average temperature increases limited to 2 °C, agricultural productivity of major crops like wheat in northern latitudes may increase as a result of longer growing seasons and more land becoming suitable for agricultural production. However, productivity in mid latitudes and southern latitudes is likely to decrease. Temperature increases greater than 3 °C will result in reduced productivity of all crops at all latitudes. The distribution and importance of pests and diseases of crops will also change in response to the climate change.
KeywordsClimate Change Future Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report Winter Climate Agricultural Sustainability
The authors wish to thank OECD for providing financial support of the PMAC conference.
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