Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Half a Degree of Warming Makes a Big Difference to Global Food Security, Study Finds

Climate
Half a Degree of Warming Makes a Big Difference to Global Food Security, Study Finds
A Brazilian crosses the bottom of the Rio Negro during a 2010 drought. Amazon flow could drop 25 percent in a 2°C warmer world. Franklin Oliveira / Flickr

A study published Monday indicates that it makes a big difference to global food security whether signatories to the Paris agreement are able to keep global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, or allow it to rise a full two degrees.


The study, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, focused on how different warming scenarios would impact food security in 122 developing countries. The research team, led by the University of Exeter with participation from the Rossby Center in Sweden, Cranfield University, the Technical University of Crete, the Met Office, and the European Commission, found that limiting warming to 1.5°C would lead to relatively less food insecurity in 76 percent of the countries studied. Two degrees of warming would cause unprecedented levels of food insecurity in four countries: Oman, Bangladesh, Mauritania and Yemen.

To assess food insecurity, the researchers examined how climate change is projected to increase either drought or rainfall in various regions.

"Such weather extremes can increase vulnerability to food insecurity," study author and University of Exeter professor Richard Betts said in a university press release.

To obtain their results, the researchers used a new atmospheric circulation model based on sea ice and sea-surface temperatures.

In addition to its projections on global food security, the study also has important implications for regional river systems.

The study found that the flow of the Ganges could more than double if warming increases by two degrees. Floods that last more than four days are expected to increase in India and Bangladesh especially.

On the other extreme, the flow of the Amazon could decrease by 25 percent in a two-degree-warmer world.

Wet weather will increase globally, though Asia will be more impacted by extreme rainfall, and South America and Africa will be more impacted by drought.

The study also found that a 0.5°C temperature difference overall could lead to much higher temperature differences in some regions. For example, a 2°C increase in global temperature would lead to maximum daily temperatures five degrees higher in parts of Europe, while 1.5°C of global temperature rise would only increase maximum temperatures by three to four degrees in the same area.

This isn't the first study to indicate the impact that an extra five degrees of warming could have on the earth. A study published in Nature Climate Change in 2017 focused on the difference half a degree can make by looking at extensive climate changes in the past half-century when average temperatures rose by one degree.

However, if we want to limit warming to 1.5°C, we have to act quickly. A draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paper said that meeting the target was "extremely unlikely" unless we make a radical shift away from fossil fuels by 2040, DW reported in January.

A crowd of climate activists march behind a banner in NYC during Climate Week on September 20, 2020. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Breanna Draxler

After decades on the political periphery, the climate movement is entering the mainstream in 2020, with young leaders at the fore. The Sunrise Movement now includes more than 400 local groups educating and advocating for political action on climate change. Countless students around the world have clearly communicated what's at stake for their futures, notably Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who just finished her yearlong school strike for climate. Youth activists have been praised for their flexible, big-picture thinking and ability to harness social media to deliver political wins, as Sunrise recently did for U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's primary campaign. They necessarily challenge the status quo.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Presidential nominee Joe Biden has not taken a stance on gas exports, including liquefied natural gas. Ken Hodge / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Simon Montlake

For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.

All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less
A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less
A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch