Tag Archives: AAAS

Making Sense of Climate’s Impact on Food Security

From warmer temperatures to natural disasters such as flooding and drought, changing patterns of climate are having billion-dollar impacts on our food-growing systems. But scientists are struggling to find ways to measure and predict what may happen in the future—and to translate that into policies to help feed a bulging world population.

“Agricultural risks are growing, including climate change,” said Cynthia Rosenzweig of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, an Earth Institute affiliate. “At the same time, a consistent approach is needed to enable the agricultural sector to analyze these issues.”

She spoke Friday at a panel on food security at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Also on the panel were Thomas R. Karl of the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, Paul R. Ehrlich of Stanford University, and Felix Kogan of NOAA.

Cynthia Rosenzweig, GISS, Paul Ehrlich, AAAS 2013

Cynthia Rosenzweig of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Paul R. Ehrlich from Stanford University answer questions at a panel on climate and food security held at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Rosenzweig detailed a new effort to mesh climate science, agricultural expertise and economics to help make better forecasts, titled the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project—“AgMIP.” The multi-disciplinary effort involves scientists, economists and food experts on five continents.

“What’s been done over past decades is a whole cornucopia,” she said. “It’s hard to compare studies, and it’s hard to understand what all the studies are actually projecting. We need a consistent approach, and we need to set it up long-term.”

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Extreme Weather Adds Up to Troubling Future

US drought Feb. 13 2013

This story was first posted on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog on Feb. 15, 2013.

The drought that afflicts the U.S. Southwest has been going on for more than a decade, but if the distant past is any guide, the region could be in for much worse.

Extreme weather and climate-related events already have cost the United States billions of dollars. Speakers at a symposium Friday focused on the hard facts of what we know and don’t know about the causes, and how changing climate affects agriculture, water supplies, wildlife and our economy. The panel was part of the 2013 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, being held in Boston.

The drought offers an example of how difficult is can be to tease out the impacts of human-induced climate change from those of natural climate variations.

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