A series of expository lectures offered to a broader audience than that of a seminar; audience members are not expected to have detailed specialist knowledge of the subject matter.
Date: Wednesday 9 May 2018
The global population is projected to grow to 11 billion by the end of the century, contributing to increased competition for land, water and energy resources. The climate is also changing and is likely to affect agricultural productivity, with increases in food production expected in some regions and decreases in others. The confluence of these factors represents a considerable challenge for society - how can we feed 11 billion people equitably and sustainably?
As the UK government’s centre for climate research, the Met Office works to understand the impacts of both natural climate variability and climate change on human lives and livelihoods; recently, there has been growing interest in food security. The focus of this talk will be our current research assessing climate impacts on wheat, maize and rice production, which provide around 60% of the world’s food energy intake. This work makes use of a 1400-member climate model ensemble to help quantify the present-day climate risk to grain production around the world, with a particular emphasis on multi-breadbasket failures which can affect global food prices. I will also discuss our work on the “human dynamics of climate change” which illustrates some of the impacts of climate and population change in the context of a globalised world - countries with high agricultural productivity often export across the world, meaning that relatively localised climate impacts, such as water stress or sea level rise, can be felt globally.