Freshwater loss could double impact of climate change on agriculture

A new analysis combining climate, agricultural, and hydrological models finds that shortages of freshwater used for irrigation could double the detrimental effects of climate change on agriculture, reports USAgNet.com. While agricultural models estimate that climate change will directly reduce food production from maize, soybeans, wheat and rice by as much as 43% by the end of the 21st century, factoring in hydrological changes results in significant further decreases on nearly the same order of magnitude. Researchers estimate that 20 to 60 million hectares of now-irrigated land will revert to growing rain-fed crops. This research by the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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