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Food and Climate
1. Past and present
- crops
- diseases
- history
* Worksheet 1
* Worksheet 2
* Worksheet 3
2. Predicting the future
3. Drought in the Mediterranean
food and climate

Food & Climate 

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Unit 1:
Past and Present

Why is climate change of concern in agriculture?

While agriculture is a complex sector, the system is still strongly dependent on climate, because heat, light, and water are the main drivers of crop growth.  Plant diseases and pest infestations, as well as the availability of water for irrigation, are also governed by climate.




World food production varies by several percent from year to year, largely as a result of weather conditions.  Some agricultural regions are more sensitive to changes in climate than others.  The most sensitive regions are often in the developing countries where less advanced technology is available to minimise the impact of droughts and floods and where soils, terrain and climate are less suited to agriculture. 


A key task facing those concerned with conducting climate impact assessments is to identify those regions most likely to be vulnerable to climate change.  This will, hopefully, allow countries to adapt so that the impact of climate change is minimised.



Additional reading


Rosenzweig, C., A. Iglesias, X.B. Yang, E. Chivian, and P. Epstein. 2000. Climate Change and US Agriculture: The impacts or warming and extreme weather events on productivity, plant diseases, and pests. Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA.



farmland landscape in North America

1. Farmland landscape in North America.
Photo by USDA. NRCS



About this page:
Author:  Marta Moneo and Dr. Ana Iglesias - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, España
1. scientific reviewer: Alex de Sherbinin - CIESIN, Columbia University, USA
2. scientific reviewer: Lily Parshall - Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Columbia University, USA
educational reviewer: Emilio Sternfeld - Colegio Virgen de Mirasierra - España
last published: 2004-05-12




last updated 23.02.2006 21:46:13 | © ESPERE-ENC 2003 - 2013