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Climate change and the food crisis

The UN IPCC (International Panel on Climate Control) released its findings last October on the increase in pollution and other effects regarding melting ice caps. It placed much of the change upon the hand of man and fossil fuel. A new study from MIT released in Uncover California today summarizes its findings.

Indonesia's Deforestation Rate Becomes Highest In The World
Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

The climate change issue whether you argue that it is a natural cycle in the planet or enhanced by mankind has become a pointless blame game. The relationship between climate change and crop production has been released in a new study from MIT. The researchers found the interaction between increasing temperature and air pollution as a cause of crop destruction. The bad news is that major food sources of wheat, corn, and rice and soy bean will be highly affected throughout the globe.

Because different crops have different time patterns for growth, the change in weather can easily destroy a crop. The ice melt on the Arctic cap starts releasing growth earlier in the year and shifts the change in the life for animals, plants and man.

Such crops as wheat are extremely sensitive to ozone exposure and a corn crop will die from heat. The research at MIT was under the lead of Colette Heald, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Maria van Martin at the Colorado State University.

Warmer temperatures increase the ozone's production from the reactions in sunlight, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Sometimes the direct effect felt from the ozone condition is masked by other factors in the environment.

If population growth continues as current forecast predicts, that the need for food will increase by 50 percent in the year 2050. Can anything offset this imbalance of needed foods from diminishing crops?

While the US is tough on air quality, Dr. Heald states that in other regions, the outcome “will depend on domestic air-pollution policies,” Professor Heald added, “an air-quality cleanup would improve crop yields.”

The study by the Heald team and Martin was posted in the journal Nature Climate Change last week and posted in the MIT news office.

The IPCC in their independent study shows that climate change will cause floods and heatwaves in the coming decades. This relates back to the challenge of crop production and fortified by the MIT study.

Last week 600 Inuit tribes from the polar ice cap representing Russia, Canada, Alaska and Greenland met in Northern Canada. It was the first meeting in 12 years. Discussion of working together to address issues such as the effects of climate change upon the polar bears, whales, and earlier Spring ice melt led the discussion. The economic issues of oil drilling and shipping came to an agreement that more input in the future is needed from the Inuit.

Duane Smith, president of the Circumpolar Council said that the goal is that he’d like to see a similar group formed on economic development. The Inuit are in business on issues of drilling, shipping, airlines and fishing. Smith states that, “The Arctic is opening up. The intent of that is to bring the Inuit expertise together to share their practices and their policies and look at potential collaborations.”

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