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

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.

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Author Trnka, Miroslav
Last Updated November 26, 2019, 11:26 (UTC)
Created November 26, 2019, 11:26 (UTC)
Article Host Type publisher
Article Is Open Access true
Article License Type cc-by-nc
Article Version Type publishedVersion
Citation Report https://scite.ai/reports/10.1126/sciadv.aau2406
DFW Organisation RRes
DFW Work Package 1
DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aau2406
Date Last Updated 2019-11-01T02:53:43.803251
Evidence open (via page says license)
Funder Code(s)
Journal Is Open Access true
Open Access Status gold
PDF URL https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/5/9/eaau2406.full.pdf
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aau2406