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If world warmed — crops could grow another 1,200 km further North

Climate change might bring more food as it expands into the arctic. In a big surprise, scientists found that agriculture works best in places without much snow and ice.

Burn oil and feed the world

Only a third of the giant northern boreal forest is able to be cropped at the moment. With any luck, serious global warming will set in, allowing us to raise the edge of the zone of arable land and feed millions more hungry people.

Obviously , we need to spend billions to stop this.

Though Canadians and Russians may disagree (especially if they thought CO2 actually mattered, but who does?).

Given CO2’s mixed performance in the last hundred years, I predict disappointment…

They found that the upper edge of land suitable for crop growth could shift as far north as 1,200km from the current position with the most dramatic changes occurring in the inner-continental regions of North America and Eurasia.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, estimates that by 2099 roughly 76 per cent of the boreal region could reach the right conditions for agriculture.

There is always a catch:

However, the study also warns that while total rainfall will generally increase on an annual basis, a warmer climate will also lead to more evaporation with potentially dramatic impact on the climatic water balance, both geographically and across seasons.

It will rain more (in general), though not necessarily in the same places. If global climate models were not largely skillless at predicting rainfall, farmers could plan ahead.

They have some very pretty artwork with details of expanding agricultural zones. In the unlikely event that climate models turn out to be right about something, these graphics might be useful.

h/t GWPF


King et al (2018) Northward shift of the agricultural climate zone under 21st-century global climate change, Scientific Reports  volume 8, Article number: 7904 (2018)

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