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  • asked in Natural Sciences 3rd Nov '16:

    How has weather fluctuations in recent history affected farming?.

    Roel Dijksma replied 4th Nov '16:

    Yes, weather fluctuations did affect farming. Multiple causes can be addressed on this matter.
    Let us start with climate change. In the recent history teperatures increased: global warming. The is sufficient proof that the temps increased significantly and will do so in the coming decades. Higher temperatures do cause an acceleration of the hydrological cycle. This implies more precipitation and more evapotranspiration.
    Precipitation increases because warmer air can contain more water vapour (Clausius Clapeyron relation). The total annual amount can increase, but also the peak intensities. Extreme precipitation becomes more extreme. This has a huge effect on farming, because of an increased risk of flooding. Given the increased efficiency of farming over the past decades, costs and impact of extremes increases considerably. Evapotranspiration increases too, because of the higher temperaturen. So more water is needed. In areas where farming is intensified, often irrigation is used to compensate for rain water shortage. This may leed to overabstraction of water and drought.
    In regions where desertification occurred, now attemts are made to stop desertification by regreening projects.

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