Changing risks of simultaneous global breadbasket failure

Gaupp, F., Hall, J., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., & Dadson, S. (2019). Changing risks of simultaneous global breadbasket failure. Nature Climate Change 10 (1) 54-57. 10.1038/s41558-019-0600-z.

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Project: Advanced Model Development and Validation for Improved Economic Modeling for Climate-Energy Policy (ECOCEP, FP7 609642)


The risk of extreme climatic conditions leading to unusually low global agricultural production is exacerbated if more than one global ‘breadbasket’ is subject to climatic extremes at the same time. Such shocks can pose a risk to the global food system amplifying threats to global food security and have the potential to trigger other systemic risks. So far, while the possibility of climatic extremes hitting more than one breadbasket has been postulated little is known about the actual risk. Here we present quantitative risk estimates of simultaneous breadbasket failures due to climatic extremes and show how risk has changed over time. We combine region-specific data on agricultural production with spatial statistics of climatic extremes to quantify the changing risk of low production for the major food producing regions (‘breadbaskets’) in the world. We find evidence that there is increasing risk of simultaneous failure of wheat, maize and soybean crops, across the breadbaskets analyzed. For rice, risks of simultaneous adverse climate conditions have decreased in the breadbaskets analyzed in this study in the recent past mostly owing to solar radiation changes favoring rice growth. Depending on the correlation structure between the breadbaskets, spatial dependence between climatic extremes globally can mitigate or aggravate the risks for the global food production. Our analysis can provide the basis for more efficient allocation of resources to contingency plans and/or strategic crop reserves that would enhance the resilience of the global food system.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 15:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:32

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