Rice yields ‘to fall’ under global warming

Global warming is set to cut rice yields in Asia, research suggests.

Scientists found that over the last 25 years, the growth in yields has fallen by 10-20% in some locations, as night-time temperatures have risen.

The group of mainly US-based scientists studied records from 227 farms in six important rice-producing countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India and China.

This is the latest study to suggest that climate change will make it harder to feed the world’s growing population.

In 2004, other researchers found that rice yields in the Philippines were dropping by 10% for every 1C increase in night-time temperature.

That finding, like others, came from experiments on a research station.

The latest data, by contrast, comes from working, fully-irrigated farms that grow “green revolution” crops, and span the rice-growing lands of Asia from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to the outskirts of Shanghai.

Describing the findings, which are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), lead researcher Jarrod Welch said:

“We found that as the daily minimum temperature increases, or as nights get hotter, rice yields drop.”

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