As we pollute our atmosphere and warm our climate, extreme and disruptive weather is becoming a part of our lives. Hereβs one big example of this dirty weather: Extreme drought.
Is climate change affecting your local food supply β either food you buy or harvest yourself? Tell us your story below.
As an ardent foodie, I was concerned to see the results of a new study last week. The study warns that oyster production may decline due to rising carbon dioxide levels. Researchers found that higher levels of carbon dioxide in ocean water made the water more acidic and reduced the ability of oyster larvae to develop shells. This impaired the ability of oysters to grow at a normal pace, and led to a decline in yield.
Will warm springs and late frosts mean the end of sugar maples? No. But the scientists also found that yellow birch and American beech trees β which are slower to leaf out than sugar maples, even when temperatures are high β aren’t as sensitive to frost. Meaning that as spring comes earlier in the year because of climate change, birch and beech may replace sugar maples in some locations.
We visited a community of Maasai who are already suffering from impacts of climate change as droughts have become more frequent and severe. Normally the short rainy season occurs from late October through November, and the long rains go from March through June. We arrived just after the long rains had started. Even so, the local papers were again warning that there will be food shortages because of drier conditions.
Although chocolate is a staple of lovers everywhere, especially on Valentine’s Day, it’s possible that it may become a luxury item due to climate change, forcing Valentines everywhere to be more creative and abandon the go-to heart-shaped box of chocolate because they can no longer afford it.
It’s not clear from this study why trees aren’t keeping pace with temperature change. Perhaps geographical boundaries, like coastlines, are getting in the way. Perhaps the species on the move are being out-competed in the new habitats. It’s even possible that tree seedlings are responding to climate change differently than adults.
According to a recent study by scientists at Stanford, the wine industry could become the latest casualty of climate change, as vineyards around the world face the threat of rising temperatures.