An increased frequency of extreme precipitation events has been observed over the last 100 years in the United States. Global climate models project that similar trends may continue and even strengthen over the coming decades, due to climate change. Now, a study using computer climate and crop model simulations predicts that U.S. agricultural production losses due to excess rainfall may double in the next 30 years, resulting in an estimated $3 billion per year in damages.
Cynthia Rosenzweig and Francesco Tubiello, researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University, New York, and the other authors of this study, found that current assessments of the impacts of climate change on agriculture have not accounted for the negative impacts on crops from increased precipitation and floods. In an effort to close this information gap, the researchers modified an existing crop computer model to simulate the extent to which excess soil moisture from heavy rain might damage crop plants.
"The impacts of excess soil moisture due to increased precipitation need to be taken into account because of associated crop losses and potential financial damages," Rosenzweig said.
Krishna Ramanujan | EurekAlert!
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