Climate change could threaten food security in developing countries by 2050 through crop damage, a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change has concluded.
But the research also suggests that ozone regulation can significantly offset climate impacts, which should help policymakers devise food production strategies.
The study presents an integrated analysis of the individual and combined effects of climate change and ozone trends worldwide on four major crops – wheat, rice, maize and soybean – based on historical observations and model projections.
This indicates that warming may reduce global crop production by more than 10% by 2050. Ozone trends can exacerbate or offset a substantial fraction of climate impacts, which highlights the importance of air quality management in agricultural planning.
Depending on region, some crops are primarily sensitive to either ozone (wheat) or heat (maize) alone, which helps provide a measure of the relative benefits of climate adaptation versus ozone regulation for food security in different regions.