Originally published January 21 2009
Billions to Suffer Food Shortages
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) Scientists are warning that approximately half of the entire world population may face severe food shortages by the end of the century due to increasing temperatures affecting crop yields.
Elevated temperatures are threatening crops such as rice and maize and these crops may decline by 20 to 40 percent during the tropic and sub tropic growing season. In addition, warmer temperatures in these regions are predicted to increase the likelihood of drought. This would further exacerbate the predicted crop losses.
The hardest hit areas are expected to be the poor and densely inhabited regions along the equatorial belt. Demand for food in these areas is already increasing due to a rapid increase in population.
A recent study in the US Journal Science determined that there is a 90 percent chance that the coolest temperatures during the growing season in the tropic regions will be more than the hottest recorded temperatures between the years 1900 and 2006. Other more temperate regions like Europe may see their previous high record temperatures become the normal temperatures by the year 2100.
The affect of temperatures alone is expected to be substantial, but this does not factor in the problem of water supplies being affected by elevated temperatures. These two situations typically go together.
Food shortages are historically severe in response to rising temperatures and heat waves. For example, in Western Europe in 2003 a record heat wave was responsible for the deaths of approximately 52,000 people. Crop yields of wheat and fodder were reduced by a third. Additionally, in 1972 a heat wave during the summer months in southeast Ukraine and southwest Russia was responsible for a decrease in wheat and grain yields by 13 percent. The affect on the global cereal market lasted for two years after this occurred.
Another problem is that historically when there were crop and weather difficulties for various areas from year to year there were other places to find food. In the future there may not be other places to turn to for food without careful planning.
The tropic and sub tropic regions are the home of approximately 3 billion people. These increases in temperatures are predicted to have a greater impact in the tropic regions because the food grown there is not as resilient to climate changes. In addition, the population in these areas is predicted to come close to doubling by the end of this century.
The bottom line is that hundreds of millions of additional people are going to be hungry and searching for food because they will not have it where they now have it. The key to withstanding a climate change of this sort is an investment in research to learn how to adapt to the changing climate.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
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