Global Warming and Agriculture

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Global Warming and Agriculture Global warming has been a major topic of environmental concern over the past several decades. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently predicted a 1 to 3.5 degree Celsius increase in average atmospheric temperature above 1990 levels by the year 2100. Although this temperature increase may seem small, even an increase or decrease of a few degrees in atmospheric temperature is capable of causing drastic alterations in the agricultural process, among many other everyday issues. Though many studies have been done on the probable effects of an increase in global mean temperature, much is still unknown or only guessed at, due to a general lack of deeper understanding of Earth?s very complex climate system. The effects of factors such as climate variability, water availability, and quality of adaptive response by farmers to the changing climate cannot be determined conclusively. This results in a rather wide range of variability in predictions of global warming effects on Earth?s various regions. Even specific temperature and precipitation changes cannot be determined, as they will most likely vary greatly from region to region. The most important factor in the success or failure of a harvest is a sufficiently moist soil during the growing season. A global increase in atmospheric temperatures most probably will cause a general increase in the frequency and duration of droughts and heavy rains, both damaging to agricultural crops. Extended droughts, such as the massive drought of the 1930s known as the ?Dust Bowl,? have throughout history been the causes of massive crop failures. As the Earth?s temperature continues to rise, water supply problems will become more and more o... ... middle of paper ... ...erature and carbon dioxide levels. America and its farmers face a difficult task in preparing for the effects of changing climate on agriculture. BIBLIOGRAPHY http://www.epa.gov/globalwarming/impacts/index.html http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/9717DD.html http://climatechange.gc.ca/english/html/impacts.html http://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/qa/cover.html http://www.gcrio.org/gwcc/part2.html http://www.whitehouse.gov/Initiatives/Climate/vulnerabilities.html

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