Climate change can be unpredictable, revealing itself in freak storms, endless droughts, weird floods, and more. It’s not an easy task to figure out exactly how it affects agriculture, but a new study from the University of Sussex, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia gave it a try to answer a question: How do weather disasters affect cereal crops like wheat, rice, and corn?
The study specifically examined droughts, floods, heatwaves, and extreme cold events—basically, the four most fundamental weather issues that can strike—from 1964 to 2007. The findings are kind of surprising; we tend to think, for example, that these can balance each other out. We all know that California is suffering from drought, but the El Niño floods should help, right? This research doesn’t quite bear that out.