18.04.2019

However, in a low-emission scenario, the percentages are three per cent and one per cent respectively.

Crops represent 40 per cent of global caloric intake

Study co-author Professor Andrew J. Challinor, from the Priestley International Centre for Climate at Leeds University in the UK, said: “Changes in rainfall patterns have been challenging to predict in the past, making it difficult to offer advice on how growing conditions may change. This is the first study to overlay predicted time of emergence on croplands and growing seasons.” Challinor notes that wheat, maize, rice and soybean represent roughly 40 per cent of global caloric intake, and he explains that the new findings show that limiting greenhouse gas emissions can contribute to preserving the rainfall patterns vital for their growth.

The study shows that while low-emissions scenarios still showed some effect on rainfall patterns in certain regions, the higher the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, the higher the percentage of land affected by drier conditions in key crop growing areas, such as South Western Australia and Southern Africa.

The scientists warn that the greenhouse gas mitigation measures needed to achieve climate targets, such as the one set by the Paris Agreement, will go a long way to helping reduce the risk of future droughts or flood conditions and possibly avoid a global food crisis.

Under a high emission scenario, France, Australia and Turkey – three of the world's top 15 wheat producers – would see 26 per cent, 28 per cent and 88 per cent respectively of their wheat growing land affected by reduced rainfall.