The crops that we grow for food need specific conditions to thrive, including the right temperature and enough water. A changing climate could have both positive and negative effects on crops. For example, the northern parts of the United States have generally cool temperatures, so warmer weather could help certain crops grow. In southern areas where temperatures are already hot, even more heat could hurt crop growth. Global climate change will also affect agriculture and food supply in many other ways.
What's at stake?
Climate change could make it too hot to grow certain crops, and droughts caused by climate change could reduce the amount of water available for irrigation. Climate change is also likely to cause stronger storms and more floods, which can damage crops. Higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns could help some kinds of weeds and pests to spread to new areas. If the global temperature rises an additional 3.6°F, U.S. corn production is expected to decrease by 10 to 30 percent.
- What can people do about it?
Farmers may be able to prepare for climate change by planting crops during different times of the year, or by planting crops that can survive better in hot and dry conditions.
- Take an expedition to the U.S. Midwest to learn more about the effects of climate change on agriculture.
- Find out more about how people can prepare for severe weather and droughts.