Every degree of global warming will reduce the average worldwide yields of four key staple food crops by between three and seven percent is the key finding of a wide-ranging meta-analysis of existing climate-change models, statistical regressions and experimental studies.
The 29 researchers, who published their findings as a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in August 2017, took a broad overview of agricultural research, including the findings of previous studies, and various models and analyses of the likely impacts of climate change on the world’s most important staple food crops.
Two-thirds of the human population’s total caloric intake consists of products made from wheat, corn, rice and soybeans. Each of these staple crops reacts differently to rising temperatures, and these reactions also vary, sometimes significantly, from location to location. On average, however, the meta-analysis shows that we can expect the yields of staple food crops to drop by 3.1 to 7.4 percent with each additional degree Celsius of warming.