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Food & Climate
1. Past and present
- crops
- diseases
- history
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2. Predicting the future
3. Drought in the Mediterranean

Food & Climate 

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Past and Present

Why is climate change of concern in agriculture?

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




World food production varies by several percent from year to year, largely as a result of weather conditions such as the climatic variability between years. But agriculture in some regions is more sensitive than in others. Typically, sensitivity to weather is greatest firstly in developing countries, where the technology available to prevent droughts and floods is less advanced, and secondly in those regions where the main physical factors affecting production (soils, terrain and climate) are less suited to farming. A key task facing those concerned with conducting climate impact assessments is to identify those regions likely to be most vulnerable to climate change, so that impacts can be avoided (or at least reduced) through implementation of appropriate measures of adaptation.


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.
Photo by USDA. NRCS



Author:  Marta Moneo and 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 update: 12/05/2004



last updated 11.07.2005 12:31:54 | © ESPERE-ENC 2003 - 2013