CCAFS Calls for Research on Climate Variability

CCAFS18 June 2014: The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has published a blog post summarizing the findings of the research paper 'Climate Variability and Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Review,' and calling for more research on how climate variability will affect the agricultural sector.

With most research to date focused on the effects of a mean rise in temperature, scientific understanding of how fluctuations between extremes (such as drought and flooding) will affect farming systems remains limited. The Review finds that the impacts of climate change are being underestimated because the combined effects of temperature rise and climate variability have largely not been measured.

According to CCAFS, a lack of information and models is constraining scientists' ability to tackle the uncertainty surrounding climate variability. However, despite the difficulties in projecting extreme events, their magnitude and their effect on agriculture, the Review emphasizes that adaptation measures must urgently be implemented, even with imperfect information.

In general, scientists have already documented changing timeframes for flowering and maturity of crops due to changes in high and low temperatures. Researchers have also predicted: reproductive failure and yield reductions from increases in maximum temperatures; greater soil erosion and runoff, more pests, weeds and diseases with changed precipitation; and decreased quality in agricultural products as a result of a range of climate impacts. However, the exact extent of these effects is still unknown.

The Review was published in 'Global Change Biology' and written by Polly J. Ericksen, Mario Herrero, Andrew J. Challinor and Philip K Thornton, who is Theme Leader at CCAFS. [CCAFS Blog Post] [Publication: Climate Variability and Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Review]