The amount and intensity of rainfall could be affected by climate change around the world.
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18.04.2019

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By 2040, rainfall on wheat, soybean, rice and maize will have changed, even if Paris Agreement emissions targets are met. Projections show that parts of Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australia will be drier, while the tropics and the north will be wetter.

Greenhouse gas emissions warm the atmosphere and can have a significant impact on weather patterns and the amount of rainfall globally. The 2015 Paris Agreement set the reduction of greenhouse emissions as a critical step in achieving the goal of limiting the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5 to 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

An international team of scientists used 20 different climate models to examine how rainfall could be affected by climate change around the world. The team combined the models with greenhouse gas emission scenarios to predict the extent of the areas affected and how quickly the precipitation changes would become detectable or the “new normal” for crop growing regions. The timeline for this discernible change to rainfall is what scientists refer to as the “time of emergence”.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warns that up to 14 per cent of land dedicated to wheat, maize, rice and soybean could have less rainfall, while up to 31 per cent may see increases in rainfall.

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