Climate change is already affecting crop production around the world through rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns and increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. A new Stanford study published June 14 in Environmental Research Letters examines extreme heat effects on crops during the flowering period and finds the world's staple crops are increasingly at risk.
We are beginning to see exposure to reproductive extreme heat for wheat in Central & South Asia and for rice in South Asia. Maize (corn) harvested area exposed to extreme heat is projected to grow from 15% in the 2000s to 44% by 2050. By 2050, all crops will see increased exposure, especially in tropical areas. For rice, the primary growing areas in South, Southeast and East Asia will become increasingly risky, whereas for wheat, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East will continue to be problematic.