Monday, March 24, 2008

Global Warming Threatens 'Most Important Food Source'

The affect of global warming on crops is hotly debated. While carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is responsible for capturing the sun's heat and boosting temperatures, CO2 also nourishes plants. So as CO2 goes up, the thinking goes, crop yields should rise, too.

According to
a news report at National Geographic from 2002, "escalating greenhouse gas levels may significantly boost production of fruits and seeds in crops."

But there was a catch then, and there's a catch now.

In the National Geographic report, they explain how crops enriched with higher levels of CO2 have lower levels of nutrients.

More recently, a University of Illinois report shows global warming will diminish yields of rice, "arguably the world's most important food source." This according to
a report at New Scientist.

The UI study looked at 80 research papers on the relationship between CO2 levels and rice yields. What they found is "the stress plants suffer at high temperatures" counteracts any gains brought on by higher CO2 levels.

What's more, levels of ozone (bad for plants) in the ground are rising as the globe warms. The way that works is, nitrogen oxides from power plants are catalyzing ozone production in "warm and sunny conditions." Thus, warmer temps mean more ozone, which can settle in the soil. As ozone concentration in soil reaches 60 parts per billion, reports New Scientist, crop yields can fall 14 percent.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.