Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture and Food

Subject: Environment
Pages: 2
Words: 556
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

Agriculture is a crucial sector in the United States of America. Besides ensuring food security, it contributes more than $300 billion to the national economy each year. However, changes in the climate have resulted in detrimental effects on agriculture and food security. This paper will examine four aspects of climate change: variation in the rainfall pattern, water levels, drought, temperature, and heatwaves. It will help understand the implications of climate change and shed light on the efforts required, such as developing climate change policies and reducing emissions.

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A gradual increase in temperature and heat waves poses a significant challenge in agriculture. One of the critical causes of the temperature rise is increased greenhouse gases (the United States Global Change Research Program, 2019). Extreme temperatures cause stress in plants and animals, leading to decreased output. For instance, it interferes with the flowering of plants, and this process is essential in their production and reproduction. On the other hand, animals cannot feed properly, and their immune system is weakened. They become vulnerable to various diseases, which influence their production in terms of milk, meat, hides, and capital when the animals are sold. Therefore, high temperatures interfere with food production from crops and animals.

An example of climate change is the variation in rainfall patterns, which has led to a shift in the planting seasons. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] (2019), as temperatures increase, the air becomes warmer, leading to water evaporation from land, seas, oceans, and lakes, hence the heavy rain downpours and snows. Besides, climate change causes shifts in ocean and air currents, modifying the weather patterns. The air currents push clouds from one region to another. Consequently, there is a change in precipitation patterns, and the region may experience heavy rains, which destroy crops.

Climate change also affects the water levels in the oceans and seas. During high temperatures, the water absorbs heat, expands, and occupies more space, leading to a rise in the water level in the ocean basin (IPCC, 2019). Besides, ice starts to melt, and the water is washed into rivers which drain into oceans, causing a rise. In time, water spills into the adjacent lands, making them unsuitable for agricultural activities. Moreover, the high water bodies increase the frequency of flooding, hence the lands prone to destructive storms. The fish habitat is also disturbed by the rise in the water bodies. As the global temperature increases, the water level also rises, which is also affected by the rate of carbon dioxide emitted.

There is a need to curb climate change to reduce its effects on agriculture. First, there should be policies with proposed guidelines on reducing emissions responsible for global warming (United Nations, 2019). This will provide a framework on how industries need to operate and those which fail to follow the set strategies to be heavily fined. People should also adopt suitable technologies which help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Such expertise includes driving fuel-efficient or electric cars, renewable sources of energy, reducing water waste, and investing in energy-efficient appliances. Livestock emissions should also be decreased by using feeds with higher digestibility and increased efficiency in manure management. Once global warming is addressed, all other consequences of climate change, such as a rise in water levels, change in rainfall patterns, and high tide flooding will be controlled.

References

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2019). Refinement to the 2016 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories.

United Nations. (2019). Climate action and support trends.

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United States Global Change Research Program. (2018). Fourth national climate assessment.