As the drought continues to take a toll on Illinois’ corn crop, one professor says it’s likely to get worse in the years to come. Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor at Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment, is focusing on the effects of global warming on extreme heat events and the impacts those events have on corn production and prices. He says research indicates that over the next three decades, volatility in corn yields could intensify due to climate change, far outweighing the impacts of oil prices and biofuel mandates on the price of America’s top crop.
Click here for summary
“What we found is that if we look out over the next three decades or so where we expect global warming to be about another 1 degree Celsius, more or less what we’ve already had over the industrial period at the global scale, we find that that global warming causes substantial increase in the occurrence of severely hot events over the U.S. corn belt and those events, in fact, look very much like what has been happening over the corn belt during this growing season.”
Unless farmers develop more heat-tolerant corn varieties, or move their farms northward into Canada, Diffenbaugh says heat waves in the U.S. heartland can be expected to produce sharp price spikes.