Climate change has likely already affected global food production

Climate change has likely already affected global food production

Deepak K. Ray1, Paul C. West1, Michael Clark2, James S. Gerber1, Alexander V. Prishchepov3, Snigdhansu Chatterjee1


1 Institute on the Environment (IonE), University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

2 Oxford Martin School and Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

claas 2147239

Crop yields are projected to decrease under future climate conditions, and recent research suggests that yields have already been impacted. However, current impacts on a diversity of crops subnationally and implications for food security remains unclear. Here, we constructed linear regression relationships using weather and reported crop data to assess the potential impact of observed climate change on the yields of the top ten global crops – barley, cassava, maize, oil palm, rapeseed, rice, sorghum, soybean, sugarcane and wheat at ~20,000 political units. We find that the impact of global climate change on yields of different crops from climate trends ranged from -13.4% (oil palm) to 3.5% (soybean). Our results show that impacts are mostly negative in Europe, Southern Africa and Australia but generally positive in Latin America. Impacts in Asia and Northern and Central America are mixed. This is estimated to have led to ~1% average reduction (-3.5 X 1013 kcal/year) in consumable food calories in these ten crops, with caloric availability decreasing in nearly half of food insecure countries. Our results suggest that climate change has already affected global food production.


Publication details

Ray DK, West PC, Clark M, Gerber JS, Prishchepov AV, Chatterjee S (2019) Climate change has likely already affected global food production. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0217148.