Research published in Science has highlighted the potentially deleterious effects of climate change on global food security. As defined by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, food security has a number of components. These include food availability, access and utilization…
One frequently cited effect of climate change is the increased risk of flooding which could cause serious loss of life and property in many parts of the world. Areas including Southeast Asia, India, eastern Africa and the northern Andes are likely to be hit the hardest.
Linda Mearns is an expert in regional climate change and its impacts. She draws on computer simulations to develop scenarios for decision makers who are preparing for the societal and environmental impacts of climate change. Mearns also investigates the effects of climate change on agriculture and on human health, particularly in relationship to the frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves.
Global warming simulations suggest that wet regions (where precipitation exceeds evaporation) will become wetter and dry regions drier by the end of the 21st century (e.g., Held and Soden 2006), with larger contrasts expected between dry and wet seasons (Chou et al., 2013). This ‘rich-get-richer’ behavior is consistent with a large increase in the moisture content of atmosphere, leading to enhanced horizontal moisture fluxes across regions.
Public discussions of climate change often focus on greenhouse gases and rising temperatures, but the most severe and immediate societal impacts of global warming are likely to be associated with changing hydrological conditions. Disruptions in water supply, extreme storms and record droughts may impact every aspect of rural and urban society: from agriculture and manufacturing to housing, energy and human health.