Master of Science, Utrecht University (2010)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Hawaii Manoa (2015)
Bachelor of Science, Utrecht University (2008)
Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate
2018; 361 (6405): 916–19
Insect pests substantially reduce yields of three staple grains-rice, maize, and wheat-but models assessing the agricultural impacts of global warming rarely consider crop losses to insects. We use established relationships between temperature and the population growth and metabolic rates of insects to estimate how and where climate warming will augment losses of rice, maize, and wheat to insects. Global yield losses of these grains are projected to increase by 10 to 25% per degree of global mean surface warming. Crop losses will be most acute in areas where warming increases both population growth and metabolic rates of insects. These conditions are centered primarily in temperate regions, where most grain is produced.
View details for PubMedID 30166490
Future warming increases probability of globally synchronized maize production shocks
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2018; 115 (26): 6644–49
Meeting the global food demand of roughly 10 billion people by the middle of the 21st century will become increasingly challenging as the Earth's climate continues to warm. Earlier studies suggest that once the optimum growing temperature is exceeded, mean crop yields decline and the variability of yield increases even if interannual climate variability remains unchanged. Here, we use global datasets of maize production and climate variability combined with future temperature projections to quantify how yield variability will change in the world's major maize-producing and -exporting countries under 2 °C and 4 °C of global warming. We find that as the global mean temperature increases, absent changes in temperature variability or breeding gains in heat tolerance, the coefficient of variation (CV) of maize yields increases almost everywhere to values much larger than present-day values. This higher CV is due both to an increase in the SD of yields and a decrease in mean yields. For the top four maize-exporting countries, which account for 87% of global maize exports, the probability that they have simultaneous production losses greater than 10% in any given year is presently virtually zero, but it increases to 7% under 2 °C warming and 86% under 4 °C warming. Our results portend rising instability in global grain trade and international grain prices, affecting especially the ∼800 million people living in extreme poverty who are most vulnerable to food price spikes. They also underscore the urgency of investments in breeding for heat tolerance.
View details for PubMedID 29891651