Science predicts more frequent extreme events will shock the global food system

February 12, 2016

A panel of British and American researchers, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC, will present updated research revealing how extreme events which affect the food system are increasingly likely to occur, resulting in 'food shocks'.

Food shocks have the potential to wreak havoc on food markets, commodity exports, and families around the world.

Because distant regions are increasingly connected by global markets, the threat of extreme events occurring in different breadbaskets simultaneously is especially concerning. For example, what if severe drought in the US Midwest withers the soy and maize harvest at the same time that a record-breaking heat wave in Europe bakes the continent's wheat crop?

In a report released last year, an independent expert taskforce from the UK and USA outlined key recommendations to safeguard against threats to food supplies.

At the AAAS meeting, researchers from the taskforce will discuss the impact of new research and outline the prognosis for 2016.

Kirsty Lewis, Applied Climate Science Team Leader at the UK's Met Office, will: Joshua Elliott, Computation Institute, University of Chicago, will present: Prof Tim Benton, Champion of the UK's Global Food Security Programme - which coordinated the task force's report will discuss the recommendations and the ways in which we can develop resilience against the increasing likelihood of food shocks.

Prof Tim Benton said, "The global interconnectedness that makes countries more resilient to local production shocks makes them more vulnerable to shocks in distant 'breadbasket' regions. Crop yields and climate data show us that the global food system is at increased risk as extreme weather events are as much as three times more likely to happen as a result of climate change by mid-century".
-end-
NOTES TO EDITORS

About the GFS programme


The GFS programme brings together the UK's main public funders of food security related research to coordinate efforts and deliver added-value from their collective activities in this area. The GFS Champion will drive forward co-ordination of research activities, as well as contributing leadership and networking to the programme. This will give a boost to food security research, helping to link funders, the research community, public and users of research.

The UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience reports are available at:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.