Climate-driven heat peaks may shrink wheat crops
More intense heat waves due to global warming could diminish wheat crop yields around the world through premature ageing, according to a study published Sunday in Nature Climate Change.
Current projections based on computer models underestimate the extent to which hotter weather in the future will accelerate this process, the researchers warned.
Wheat is harvested in temperate zones on more than 220 million hectares (545 million acres), making it the most widely grown crop on Earth.
In some nations, the grain accounts for up to 50 percent of calorie intake and 20 percent of protein nutrition, according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), near Mexico City.
In 2010, drought and wildfires in wheat-exporting Russia pushed world prices of the grain to two-year highs, underscoring the vulnerability of global supplies to weather- and climate-related disruptions.