A study published Friday found farmers and other stakeholders have vastly underestimated the current risk posed upon major food crops throughout the U.S., China, and potentially other nations.
The U.S. experienced back-to-back extreme weather events throughout the winter and spring seasons, predominantly in major crop states such as California and other parts of the west. The threat posed by these extremes to our food supply is significant, but a new study published June 2 suggests we’ve underestimated the ongoing risk.
The study, published in the journal Nature, focused on wheat crops and how the historical relationship between climate and crop yields may not be enough to measure the potential for devastation or loss. Using simulation methodologies, the researchers found that what were considered 1-in-100-year extreme weather events in 1981 are actually just 1-in-6-year events in the U.S. In China, these events are 1-in-16 years, according to the study.
The simulation model allowed researchers to “imagine otherwise unforeseen events” that can inform planning and adaptation methods to sustain our major food supplies.
“Recent temperature extremes, especially in the US midwest, are unlikely to be a good proxy for what to expect in the next few years of today’s climate, and local stakeholders might perceive their risk to be lower than it really is,” the researchers wrote in the study abstract. “We find that there is a high potential for surprise in these regions if people base risk analyses solely on historical datasets.”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 23, 2022
The risk of global food shortages first arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. A United Nations official warned in May 2022 that a global food catastrophe was incoming. To combat this threat, members of the World Economic Forum suggested people stop using “best before” and “use by” dates on food packaging, and instead switch to a “sniff test” approach. (RELATED: ‘I Brought Some Cyanide’: Another Billionaire Investor Predicts Devastating Economic Collapse)
Scientists have pointed out that while it seems everyone is aware of the ongoing food crisis, there are no practical means of tracking food security. It’s unclear if any of these global bodies or any government is doing anything to ensure that food remains on our shelves over the coming months and years ahead.