Justin Gillis Causes Of Drought: What's The Climate Connection?

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Climate change otherwise known as global warming has been an ongoing issue for decades. Beginning in the 19th century, climate change has increasingly affected Earth and its atmosphere. Rising levels of carbon dioxide are warming the Earth’s atmosphere causing rising sea-levels, melting snow and ice, extreme fires and droughts, and intense rainfall and floods. Climate change has and will continue to affect food production, availability of water, and can add to many health risks in humans and animals. In fact, in an article by Justin Gillis titled, “Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries” he focuses on a paper written by former NASA climate scientist, James E. Hansen, explaining the effects of climate change …show more content…

As mentioned in an article named, “Causes of Drought: What 's the Climate Connection?” different types of droughts and how they are created is explained. It is mentioned that “agricultural droughts can occur for a variety of reasons, including low precipitation, the timing of water availability, or decreased access to water supplies” (UCSUSA). All of these aspects are affected by climate change, therefore, increasing the risks of droughts. Water is a vital source for agriculture; in fact, many of the world’s water supply already goes to agriculture. To be specific, 70% of fresh water goes to agriculture and this can increase up to 90% in drier regions (Gilman). With that said, weakened water supply is deemed to influence agriculture worldwide. Moreover, in Larry Gilman’s, Agriculture: Vulnerability to Climate Change, he discusses the vital effect climate change as a whole can have on agriculture. He specifically mentions the effect water can have on food production stating, “As of 2002, about 30 countries were facing chronic water shortages, a number expected to exceed 50 by 2050. Water shortages will impact both health and agriculture directly” (Gilman). With the expanding effect of climate change throughout the world, water shortages have been an ongoing issue in many countries. As the author mentions, these numbers drastically …show more content…

Although some believe that increased CO2 levels will help agriculture as it will result in more plant growth, that may not be the case. As Larry Gilman states in his book, Agriculture: Vulnerability to Climate Change, “In the 1970s and 1980s, studies suggested that increasing CO2 levels would stimulate crop yields and increase the drought tolerance of crop plants. If true, this offered hope that the primary cause of global warming—high atmospheric CO2—might offset some of its own ill-effects, at least in regard to the human food supply.” However, in order for increased CO2 levels to actually help agriculture, water is needed. Since climate change is the cause of many water shortages and droughts, it is likely that increased CO2 levels will prove to be damaging to agriculture. Actually, one of the results of increased CO2 levels are the development of more weeds, pests, and diseases. As mentioned in an article called, “Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture” by North Carolina State University, “Weeds have become more prolific and are expected to invade new habitats as global warming increases.” The article also mentions that pests that may carry plant diseases will become more widespread resulting in herbicides becoming less effective (North Carolina State University). With these problems arising from increased CO2 levels, agriculture will be deeply affected.

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