Mitigation efforts will not fully alleviate the increase in water scarcity occurrence probability in wheat-producing areas

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  • Miroslav Trnka, Czech Academy of Sciences, Mendel University in Brno
  • ,
  • Song Feng, University of Arkansas
  • ,
  • Mikhail A. Semenov, Rothamsted Research
  • ,
  • Jørgen E. Olesen
  • Kurt Christian Kersebaum, Czech Academy of Sciences, Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF)
  • ,
  • Reimund P. Rötter, University of Göttingen
  • ,
  • Daniela Semerádová, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Karel Klem, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Wei Huang, Lanzhou University
  • ,
  • Margarita Ruiz-Ramos, Technical University of Madrid
  • ,
  • Petr Hlavinka, Czech Academy of Sciences, Mendel University in Brno
  • ,
  • Jan Meitner, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Jan Balek, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Petr Havlík, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg
  • ,
  • Ulf Büntgen, Czech Academy of Sciences, University of Cambridge, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Masaryk University

Global warming is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of severe water scarcity (SWS) events, which negatively affect rain-fed crops such as wheat, a key source of calories and protein for humans. Here, we develop a method to simultaneously quantify SWS over the world’s entire wheat-growing area and calculate the probabilities of multiple/sequential SWS events for baseline and future climates. Our projections show that, without climate change mitigation (representative concentration pathway 8.5), up to 60% of the current wheat-growing area will face simultaneous SWS events by the end of this century, compared to 15% today. Climate change stabilization in line with the Paris Agreement would substantially reduce the negative effects, but they would still double between 2041 and 2070 compared to current conditions. Future assessments of production shocks in food security should explicitly include the risk of severe, prolonged, and near-simultaneous droughts across key world wheat-producing areas.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummereaau2406
TidsskriftScience Advances
Vol/bind5
Nummer9
Antal sider11
ISSN2375-2548
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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