Climatic Change, Food Production
The agricultural sector plays an important role within our country's economy. Other than agriculture providing us with food, agriculture also comprises of seafood, and livestock which all together contribute an estimate of $200 billion dollars annually to our country's economy (Brian & Matt 2008). Agriculture and fisheries highly rely on climatic conditions to thrive. It is inevitable to understand agriculture without putting into consideration climatic variability. Hence, it is imperative that farmers and other critical decision makers within the agricultural sector understand climate variability in order to implement measures that will prevent damage and losses during unfavorable climatic conditions and at the same time exploit the full potential of favorable climatic conditions.
Increase in temperatures or amount carbon dioxide (Co2) within the atmosphere is beneficial to crop, in some scenarios. However, for these benefits to translate into increased agricultural yields, it is key that the essential and required nutrients levels, water levels, soil moisture and other related climatic conditions are met (Brian & Matt 2008). Drastic changes in the occurrence and severity of climatic conditions like floods and droughts often pose as challenges to farmers and ranchers, especially those less prepared to deal with them. Variability in water temperatures, especially increased warm temperatures interferes with underwater ecosystems forcing fish and shellfish to migrate to other habitats (Congress, E.S 2012). In general, drastic changes in climatic variability as a result of global warming pose serious challenges to agriculture when it comes to crop production, livestock keeping and fisheries. Unexpected and unplanned for climatic variability often render previously employed agricultural practices, techniques and methods useless. Therefore, once one understands the impact of climatic change on the environment, one can also understand it effects on critical agricultural aspects such as practices employed and technological intervention.
[...] With the drought comes the reduction of crop and livestock productivity, including a decline in milk production (Congress, E.S 2012). Drought has also contributed to increased implementation of irrigation as a necessary agricultural practice as areas that once experienced regular rainfall patterns either experience little or no rainfall. Irrigation is an additional expense to farmers. It contributes to high agricultural costs, subjecting financial strains and suffering to farmers of this era (William & World Meteorological Organization 2007). Above all, drought decreases water availability. [...]
[...] El Niño, which is a warming of the sea surface temperatures over the South Eastern of the Pacific Ocean, usually lasts for about three months or more (Health T. F. 2008). Its occurrences start with the weakening of prevailing winds over the Pacific ocean which consequently alters rainfall patterns. It then proceeds with prolonged dry spells which usually starts in Indonesia, Philippines and Northern Australia, whereas some areas in likes of Peru and Ecuador experience heavy rainfall which eventually develop into massive flooding (Health T. [...]
[...] Global warming leads to decreased arability in low altitudes. Prime temperatures conducive for crop growth in the low altitudes have shifted to the higher latitudes. Drought and extreme temperatures have resulted into ecosystems encouraging high reproduction rate amongst pesticides (Spencer 2010). The change in temperature and humidity has paved way to new breeds of pests and insects. Even worse research reveals trends of pesticides migrating northwards to areas once unexposed to insects and pesticides. This poses as an extra challenge to farmers who once did not have to invest in pesticides and insecticides in order to protect their crops from mass destruction (Spencer 2010). [...]
[...] Ocean alkalinity has significantly reduced following the increase of ocean acidification. The continuous warming and acidification of both fresh and oceanic waters enhance thermal stratification which by a larger extent inhibit the mixing of warm and cold waters (Congress, E.S 2012). In the long run fewer nutrients come to the surface water, consequently reducing productivity in fisheries and aquaculture. Both freshwater and oceanic water bodies have so far registered significant variability when it comes to salinity, oxygen levels, currents and circulation(Spencer 2010). [...]
[...] Climate Change Modeling, Mitigation, and Adaptation. Reston: ASCE Publications. Health, T. F. (2008). Protection of the Human Environment. Geneva: World Health Organization. William Burroughs, World Meteorological Organization. (2007). Climate: Into the 21st Century.Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. [...]
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