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quinta-feira, 5 de maio de 2011

#ClimateChange Already Hurting Agriculture @BreakingScience

Change Already Hurting Agriculture via @

As the planet warms, dire predictions of coastal flooding, inland droughts, ruined farmland, and global food shortages fill the news and research journals. But for all the talk of the future, scientists have little data on how climate change has already affected agriculture. A new study hopes to shed some light on this area.

"It's a frustration having to always answer questions about the future and having everyone think of climate change as something in the future," says David Lobell, an agricultural scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. "It's not something we have to anticipate. It's something we have to learn from and deal with right now."

Lobell and colleagues analyzed agricultural records of corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans from 1980 to 2008. Those four crops make up 75% of the calories consumed by the world's population. Using historical weather data on temperature and precipitation, the researchers constructed a trend line of weather patterns, controlling for a certain amount of seasonal variation, and linked it to crop data year by year. They also constructed a second trend line that assumed no warming during the period, and then compared the two.