How irrigation help crops through climate change
It’s official: 2016 was the warmest year on record. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the average global surface temperature reached 14.83 C – the warmest it’s been since modern temperature records began in 1880.
By Brandi Cowen
A separate analysis from NASA considered average surface temperature readings from 6,300 weather stations, as well as ship- and buoy-based sea surface temperature readings and temperatures collected from Antarctic research stations. The agency reports the planet’s global average surface temperature has risen about 1.1 C since 1880; 0.99 C of that increase has been recorded since the middle of the 20th century. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on file have been recorded since 2001.
“2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in a press release. “We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.”
Changes in the climate may offer some benefits to some producers (longer growing seasons, anyone?). However, they also threaten to change the conditions under which producers have learned to grow their crops profitably. According to Natural Resource Canada’s 2014 report “Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation,” longer growing seasons will lead to less snow cover during the winter and less rain through the summer. The result? Less water will be available for thirsty crops.
For producers who have already purchased irrigation equipment (and for those who are considering such an investment in the future), the quantity and quality of water available are serious concerns with very real implications for their operations.
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