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How Global Warming May Affect Agriculture

1002 words - 5 pages

In today’s world, the only thing that seems to be constant is change. This same concept applies to global warming and agriculture. The average temperature appears to be increasing every which seems to be caused by human activity adding carbon dioxide into the air. With an increase in temperature holding and providing water for farmers in order to water crops will become evermore difficult. With the challenge of global warming set into affect the world will have to better utilize water, carbon dioxide fertilization, global trade, and seed technology.
Causes of Global Warming
Global warming, which is an increase in the average temperature of the earth, has many factors that have to be considered to what is the culprit in an increase in temperature. According to Utah researchers, Eldredge and Biek, the earth is currently in an ice age with temperatures colder than they have been throughout some of earth’s history. Going through cycles of above or below average temperatures is very normal for the earth as many different factors go into the temperature including ocean and atmospheric temperatures, volcanic eruptions, and the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Eldredge and Biek, 2010). Knowing that the earth goes through cycles of warm and cold weather makes it difficult to have a definitive answer of how much human activities actually contribute to the warming of the earth. With the amount of carbon Dioxide that humans emit into the atmosphere, almost all scientists agree that human activity is having a profound affect on global warming. Stanford researchers Lobell, schlenker, and Roberts present data showing an increase of .13 degrees Celsius every decade since 1950 with an expected increase in temperature per year due to carbon emissions (2011). As temperatures on earth increase the amount of precipitation received is going to decrease and storms carrying precipitation will be likely be more scattered.
Carbon Dioxide Fertilization
Even though carbon dioxide is detrimental to the environment, CO2 is necessary for plants to go through photosynthesis. With more carbon dioxide in the air plants have more access for one of the main items they require to photosynthesize. Many C3 crops, which are cooler whether crops usually require less heat units, benefit up to 13 percent in yield from in increase in carbon dioxide in the air. C4 crops which are longer day crops requiring more heat units benefit as much as 4 percent from an increase of carbon dioxide in the air. These gains of yield are possible having all other factors kept the same but an increase of carbon dioxide in the air from 400 ppm(parts per million) to 550 ppm(Cline, 2007). An increase in carbon dioxide would also reduce the amount of water the plant has to absorb due to a spike in temperature, which would be a limiting factor to what a plant actually needs in order to efficiently go through photosynthesis.
Water Availability
Water will be the biggest issue with global warming, as all...

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