(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the Lisbon School of Science and Technology have identified increased drought and heatwaves as the main cause of crop losses in Europe. One of the main dangers of climate change is reported in an article published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The scientific work is briefly described in a press release on Phys.org.
Researchers analyzed agricultural production in 28 European countries from 1961 to 2018 and compared it with data on extreme weather events (droughts, heat waves, floods and frosts). It turned out that unfavorable conditions for the vegetation of plants over 50 years began to occur more often, while the impact on agricultural crops has tripled. Losses rose from 2.2 percent over the 1964-1990 period to 7.3 percent over 1991-2015.
Droughts are becoming more intense and frequent, with the most extreme of them becoming disproportionately more severe. Although total crop yields have increased by 150 percent, different crops are affected in different ways by the weather. The largest losses occurred in cereals, which occupy 65 percent of the cultivated area in European countries. The rest of the crops (vegetables and fruits) suffered less, which may be due to their more frequent irrigation.
Climate change is expected to exacerbate extreme weather events, including heat waves and droughts. This could hit hard regions that account for up to a quarter of global food production, in particular North America, Western Europe, Western Russia and Ukraine.
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