Wheat cultivation is falling rapidly due to global warming: study

According to a latest study published in Nature Food, global warming in the Indian Ocean has led to a change in weather patterns in Australia. Lately, Australia has started to experience drier climatic conditions, leading to a significant decline in the country’s wheat production level over the past three decades.

Australia is one of the world’s leading wheat exporters. Australian wheat accounts for more than 10% of world trade.

As a result, Australian and Chinese scientists have sent out a warning message that wheat production will become more difficult in the future if global warming continues at this rate.

The study also analyzed different climatic phenomena that have impacted Australia’s rainfall patterns since the late 1800s and used several models to study their impact on wheat production in the country.

These models aim to analyze factors such as crop management, sowing time or varieties planted in order to understand how wheat production is impacted in Australia.

The study found that the change in weather pattern due to global warming is known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). If IOD is in a positive phase, there will not be enough rainfall to produce wheat.

Lately, the number of positive IOD events has increased significantly over the past decades, which has led to lower rainfall and agricultural yields, according to the study.

Normal weather conditions suitable for growing wheat can produce up to 2.5 tons of wheat per hectare in a year. However, a dry climate driven by positive IOD events could drop wheat cultivation to 1.5 tons per hectare.

The study also revealed that Australia, on the contrary, is affected by the negative phase of the IOD which causes heavy showers in the south and east of the continent.

This study found that more IOD events have taken place in Australia recently, which has had a stronger impact on wheat cultivation than other climatic phenomena such as El Nino or La Nina.

This study concludes by saying that there could be more positive cases of IOD in Australia, causing more droughts and a dry climate if greenhouse gas emissions increase in the atmosphere.

Teresa H. Sadler