CCSP Releases Report on Climate Changes

Warmer temperature have definite impact on agriculture.

The Climate Change Science Program on Tuesday released the report The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States. Thirteen agencies came together to examine climate change on U.S. ecosystems and 38 authors from universities, laboratories and federal service contributed to the report.

"It's very much a science assessment. It's based on review of about 1000 papers in the peer-reviewed literature in keeping with CCSP practices," says Peter Backland, a lead author from the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "It does not make any recommendations or provide formal advice to the government, nor does it evaluate adaptation options. It is very much focused on examining what we could find in the peer-reviewed literature about the impact of climate change on the various sectors contained in the report."

Unlike many climate change studies, this report focuses primarily on the recent past and forward into the next 25 to 50 years rather than the more standard 100 year review.

"The report provides practical information that will help land owners and resource managers make better decisions to address the risks of climate change," says Agriculture Chief Economist Joe Glauber.

Crops react differently to temperature, with different optimal temperatures and ranges at which they grow best. A common finding across all plants is that the higher levels of warmer temperatures are going to negatively impact the growth and yield.

"Why temperatures are so important is that the increased temperature causes plants to grow faster which is not necessarily a good thing because the faster they grow actually the smaller they are," says Jerry Hatfield with the Agricultural Research Service. "Also the warmer it is during the reproductive stage of plants has an impact on pollination as well as grain set."

According to Hatfield additional extreme events of excessive rainfall can cause crop damage and also some insects and diseases benefit from warming. The report also says when looking at pastures and rangeland the climate change is leading to decreasing forage quality.

These are a few of the findings of the CCSP report. To view a copy of the report click HERE.

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