Odds are rising that warm, dry conditions – the kind that can hurt crop yields, destabilize food prices and exacerbate wildfires – will strike multiple regions at once.
A new study from Stanford University suggests that the kind of hot, dry conditions that can shrink crop yields, destabilize food prices and lay the groundwork for devastating wildfires are increasingly striking multiple regions simultaneously as a result of a warming climate.
According to the researchers, climate change has doubled the odds that a region will suffer a year that is both warm and dry compared to the average for that place during the middle of the 20th century. It’s also becoming more likely that dry and severely warm conditions will hit key agricultural regions in the same year, potentially making it harder for surpluses in one location to make up for low yields in another.
“When we look in the historical data at the key crop and pasture regions, we find that before anthropogenic climate change, there were very low odds that any two regions would experience those really severe conditions simultaneously,” said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, the Kara J. Foundation professor in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth) and senior author of the study published Nov. 28 in Science Advances. The study is titled “Multi-dimensional risk in a non-stationary climate: joint probability of increasingly severe warm and dry conditions.”
Continue reading at Stanford University
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