Home > Global warming, Science and politics > If crops fail in the field, will anyone notice?

If crops fail in the field, will anyone notice?

If global warming is reducing yields of important food crops in other parts of the world, but not in North America, does that help explain climate-change denialism in the U.S.?

According to a new study, the U.S., Canada and Mexico have largely escaped the negative effects global warming seems to be having on world wheat and corn production.

Outside of North America, however, most major producing countries were found to have experienced some decline in wheat and corn (or maize) yields related to rising global temperatures.

Stanford Univ. researchers found that global wheat production was 5.5 percent lower than it would have been had the climate remained stable, and global corn production was lower by almost 4 percent.

“Given the relatively small temperature trends in the U.S. corn belt, it shouldn’t be surprising if complacency or even skepticism about global warming has set in, but this study suggests that would be misguided,” said David Lobell, the study’s lead researcher.

Climate change is one minor reason that food prices have risen dramatically around the world, Purdue University agricultural economist Wallace Tyner told the Houston Chronicle. But if farmers don’t start paying attention and adapting, warming will affect food pricing more significantly. “The general gist of what they’re arguing in the paper is correct, and maybe even understated,” Tyner said

Bill Sez: Charlie Petit at Knight Science Journalism Tracker points the spotlight in the right direction.

How does this peculiar sort of American exceptionalism fit speculation that epochal recent tornado outbreaks in the US South, and Ohio River Valley are a signature of changing climate?  One supposes that the US average temp could sit, but changed storm patterns and other wind shifts plus higher humidity brought globally by greenhouse forcings could alter tornado odds.

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