UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Influence of extreme weather disasters on global crop production Lesk, Corey; Rowhani, Pedram; Ramankutty, Navin


In recent years, a number of extreme weather disasters (EWDs) have partially or completely damaged regional crop production1–5. While detailed regional accounts of the impacts of EWDs exist, the global scale impacts of droughts, floods, and extreme temperature events on crop production are yet to be quantified. Here we estimate for the first time national cereal production losses across the globe resulting from reported extreme weather events over 1964-2007. We find that droughts and extreme heat events significantly reduced national cereal production by 9-10%, while our analysis could not identify a global impact from floods and extreme cold events. Analyzing the underlying processes, we find that production losses due to droughts were associated with a reduction in both harvested area and yields whereas extreme heat mainly decreased cereal yields. Additionally, the results highlight ~7% greater production impacts from more recent droughts and 8-11% more damage in developed countries compared to developing ones. Our findings may help guide agricultural priorities in international disaster risk reduction and adaptation efforts.

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