GAINESVILLE – With a global need for more food, a worldwide team of scientists led by a University of Florida professor has found that with each degree of Celsius that the Earth warms, humans stand to lose more wheat, rice, maize and soybeans over the next 30 years.
In fact, average yields will go down for maize by 7.4 percent; wheat by 6 percent; rice by 3.2 percent; and soybeans by 3.1 percent for each degree in global warming, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Those figures are global averages and vary by the geographic location on Earth.
Scientists, led by Senthold Asseng, a UF professor of agricultural and biological engineering, compared four scientific methods to come to their temperature impact assessments. The team assessed the impact of increasing temperatures on yields of the four crops by analyzing more than 70 studies. The meta-analysis included studies that incorporated process-based model simulations of yield response to temperature changes at the global and local scale, statistical regression models based on historical weather and yield data and artificial field warming experiments.
Wheat, rice, maize and soybeans provide two-thirds of human caloric intake, according to the study. So assessing global temperature increases on production of these crops will help maintain global food supply, Asseng said.