Set a place at the table for climate change; hotter weather may have already taken a bite out of food crops worldwide. Farms across the planet produced 3.8 percent less corn and 5.5 percent less wheat than they could have between 1980 and 2008 thanks to rising temperatures, a new analysis estimates.
These wilting yields may have contributed to the current sky-high price of food, a team of U.S. researchers reports online May 5 in Science. Climate-induced losses could have driven up prices of corn by 6.4 percent and wheat by 18.9 percent since 1980.
Even today, food scarcity is a pressing problem, says Navin Ramankutty, a geographer at McGill University in Montreal. As populations climb steeply, putting added pressure on agricultural production, an estimated one in seven people go hungry across the globe.