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Summer Temperatures for Second Half Of Century Projected to Exceed Current Records, Contribute to Food Insecurity

by Jack Rosebro

Likelihood, in percentage, that regional average summer  temperatures during (a) 2040—2060 and (b) 2080—2100 will exceed the  highest average summer temperatures on record for those regions from  1900 to 2006. Source: David S. Battisti, Department of Atmospheric  Sciences, University of Washington and Rosamond L. Naylor, Program on  Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University. Click to enlarge.

A report published this week in Science[1] compares the effects of two significant heat-induced disruptions of food production from recent history with projected effects of temperature increases up to and including the latter half of this century. The study finds that there is a greater than 90% likelihood that by 2080-2100, growing season temperatures will exceed even the most extreme seasonal temperatures recorded in the last century for the majority of the world’s tropics and subtropics, exposing an area with a current population of more than three billion people to food insecurity.

David Battisti of the University of Washington and Rosamond Naylor of Stanford University compared two historically significant examples of severe heat-induced crop decline—France in 2003 and the Ukraine in 1972—to average temperatures for more than a century. They found that climatological daily high temperatures from June to August were approximately 2-4 ºC higher in France and 3-5 ºC higher in the Ukraine than each region’s 1900-2006 average for those months. They then extrapolated the historical effects of the two events onto 23 climate models for the remainder of the 21st century.

European Grain Production and the Heat Wave of 2003

Record daytime and nighttime temperatures throughout the 2003 summer growing season in parts of Western Europe caused many crops to develop prematurely, entering into grain filling stages during insufficient soil moisture conditions. EU-15 maize and fodder production fell by 20%, with fodder production reduced by 60% in France alone.[2] Fruit harvests were reduced by a quarter, and wheat harvests in France declined by more than 20% even though wheat had almost completely matured prior to the upswing in temperatures. Agricultural water consumption also rose significantly. Approximately 35,000 Europeans died from heat stress in 2003, with just under 15,000 dying in France during a three-week period.[3]

The extreme temperatures of 2003 also disrupted energy systems in France. In some regions, river water levels dropped so low that nuclear reactors, which use river flows for cooling, had to be shut down, while six others-Saint-Alban (Isère), Golfech (Tarn-et-Garonne), Cruas (Ardèche), Nogent-sur-Seine (Aube), Tricastin (Drôme), and Bugey (Ain)-were unable to maintain cooling water discharge temperatures below legal limits.[4]

Glaciers in the European Alps lost an average of about 3 meters water equivalent, which was almost twice as much as during the previous record year of 1998 and roughly five times more than the average loss of 0.65 meters per year recorded during the exceptionally warm period of 1980 to 2000. The global financial impact of summer 2003 heat, drought, and forest fires in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Estonia and Slovakia has been estimated at €13.1 billion (US$17.6 billion).

Ukrainian Wheat Production and the Drought of 1972

The Ukraine wheat crisis of 1972, a product of low winter snow levels and temperatures coupled with summer drought and high temperatures, triggered disruptions in the world cereal market and a tripling of wheat prices during an otherwise steady half-century decline in prices following the Second World War. A 1976 review of the Ukranian food crisis noted that “it is also noteworthy that, on occasion, poor conditions for food production occur concomitantly at several places over the globe.[5] Drought in the Sahel and El Niño conditions off Peru impacted food production in those regions in 1972.

High temperatures and low precipitation also cut Ukrainian wheat production by 70% in 2003 and effectively cancelled most of its wheat exports for the year. According to the USDA, weather continues to be the “chief determinant” in Ukraine wheat yields, which recently declined for three years running before rebounding in 2008.

In both cases studied by Battisti and Naylor, observed heat-induced declines in food production were found to be consistent with crop model results reviewed in last year’s US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity.[6] (Earlier post.) That report, which drew on research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) as well as USDA, concluded that even under the most optimistic CO2 emission scenarios, North American ecosystems “are likely to be pushed increasingly into alternate states with the possible breakdown of traditional species relationships, such as pollinator/plant and predator/prey interactions, adding additional stresses and potential for system failures.”

The USDA report further noted that while some agricultural and forest systems may experience short-term increases in productivity, “many such systems are likely to experience overall decreases in productivity that could result in economic losses, diminished ecosystem services, and the need for new, and in many cases significant, changes to management regimes” over the long term.

Battisti and Naylor also make mention of the Sahel, a semiarid and agriculturally precarious belt of land spanning Africa between the Sahara and the savannah belt below it, noting that “new bounds of heat stress will make the region’s population far more vulnerable to poverty and hunger-related deaths, and will likely drive many people out of agriculture altogether, thus expanding migrant and refugee populations.” A report last year by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana Madariaga[7] (earlier post) found that climate change could become a “threat multiplier” to European security and migration policy, with increasing drought, water scarcity and land overuse in North Africa and the Sahel leading to a loss of three-quarters of arable, rain-fed land, and resulting in significant migration.

Historical regional food shortages in France, the Ukraine, and the Sahel were offset by the availability of food from surrounding regions as well as the eventual subsiding of unusual temperatures. “The future, however, could be entirely different,” write the researchers.

If growing season temperatures by the end of the twenty-first century remain chronically high and greatly exceed the hottest temperature on record throughout the much of the world, not just for these three examples, then global food security will be severely jeopardized unless large adaptation investments are made.

History provides some guide to the magnitude and effects of high seasonal averaged temperature projected for the future. Ignoring climate projections at this stage will only result in the worst form of triage.

—Battisti and Naylor (2009)

[1] David S. Battisti and Rosamond L. Naylor, Historical warnings of future food insecurity with unprecedented seasonal heat. In Science,volume 323, number 5911, 9 January 2009
[2] COPA-COGECA: Assessment of the impact of the heat wave and drought of the summer 2003 on agriculture and forestry. September 2003
[3] P. Pirard et al.: Summary of the mortality impact assessment of the 2003 heat wave in France. Eurosurveillance, 1 July 2005
[4] A. De Bono, et al.: Impacts of summer 2003 heat wave in Europe. United Nations Environment Programme, March 2004
[5] Reginald E. Newell, Minoru Tanaka, and Bijoy Misra, Department of Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Climate and Food Workshop: A Report. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 57, No. 2, February 1976
[6] Peter Backlund et al.: The effects of climate change on agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity in the United States. US Department of Agriculture, May 2008
[7] Javier Solana: Climate change and international security. Council of the European Union, 3 March 2008.



Andrey Lievin

You should fund a club with Stan Peterson as true blind denier and utter lier.

Again if you think everything is fine, what are you doing here ?

as a matter of fact species are collapsing like never before.

Satelite pictures shows that mountain glacier below 3000 meters are deasaparing

soil erosion is certainly not positive in developped country do your research

rain forest and coral destruction are as a matter of fact irrevesible, the soil of rain forest is so thin that it is washed out fast after the forest is cut.

The sea was dirtier after WWII than today, well in between we have the giant garbage of the pacific, fish livestock dramatically reduced, turtle diseappeared from mediteranean sea because of plastic bag, polution of shark are collapsing.

Again on what planet do you live? and you know nothing about environmental cause

Andrey Levin


I worked in Environment Protection Industry for 20 years, in University, government, and private industry, in 5 countries in 3 continents, so I do care about environment and have some clear idea about “State of the Planet”.

There are plenty of environmental problems worth caring for. For US/Canada, for example, it is huge amounts of leaking into rivers untreated livestock manure (should be anaerobically digested), fertilizer runoff (slow release fertilizers should be mandated instead of urea and ammonia), municipal solid waste is long overdue to be sorted and treated instead of landfilled, hundreds of thousand of old diesel trucks and school buses should be removed from the roads, potable water and sewage collection systems in suburban sprawl is totally inadequate, national parks and forests should be maintained – not left to itself, hundred of old coal power plants should be closed, etc. Developing world is the mess and has looong way to go to clean its ways.

However pressing environmental problems around the world are, I do not see single pending catastrophe, or single problem which could not be cured.


Well, there are some references for interested in the subject (not in scary movies).

Global forests:



"I do not see single pending catastrophe or single problem which could not be cured"

you are a droll,

then go to explain the chinese that they have to stop eating shark fin, tell the japanse stop fishing tuna, to brazilian people stop cutting the amazon and explain the african that they have to stop eating apes and stop the gobi desert to expand by 1% a year.

you are being just ridiculous to say the least

Andrey Levin

Treehugger, you gotta stop to watch scary movies, or you will loose your sleep.

Overfishing is not really environmental problem. Commercial fishing collapses well before the particular harvest species going extinct. Too bad for commercial fishermen, they will be smarter next time, when species return (and they are, look for example at sturgeon in Hudson River).

Brazilians will stop cutting their rainforest by themselves. They are not stupid. Which I can not say about Africans, who very well could eat all their apes.

Gobi desert, last time I checked, is in Asia, not Africa. It is expanding, but Chinese and Mongolians have nothing to do with it. Natural process, you know (sometimes not all changes are about evil human greed). Same as greening and shrinking of Sahel desert – it is doing it by itself. It is, of course, daring environmental problem: habitat destruction of unique desert ecosystem. Oups, sorry, I just gave you another nightmare…

The Goracle


"Summer Temperatures for Second Half Of Century Projected to..."

LOL!!! Are these the same people who sent out the alarmist claims a few years ago stating that hurricanes would be getting MUCH worse, and hitting the U.S. much more often (due to people driving SUVs, of course), only to have hurricane numbers and intensity DECREASE! They can't even predict climate a couple of years out. Announcing predictions regarding the next decade, or half century, shows how silly they truly are (and how $$$$ drives their cause).

Yes, Globalwarmism is a religion. Anyone who opposes the Globalwarmist's unfounded faith is blasphemous and can not be allowed to enter the discussion (see Algore's (the Globalwarmist icon who has a political science degree and failed out of divinity school) actions for proof that discussion is NOT allowed).

Why can't we agree to spend our precious time and resources working on real, quantifiable, problems such as pollution? Rather, the Globalwarmists want the government to regulate breathing (CO2) and punish businesses who produce products that people demand. What a sad state we have entered...

Globalwarmism is about $$$$$ - research money from the government, and about government control of people's lives. It's a shameful "cause," and power grab.


Stan Peterson

Thank you Mr. Reel.

I am delighted to discover that the author of the article is a graduate in "Fine Arts" from an Art Institute. He is typical of the over-degreed, and under-educated; but wholly unqualified "opinion makers", entrusted to spread the AGW doom scare.

The World has periodically cooled for 11 going on 12 years, after periodically warming for 19 years, before which it cooled periodically, for 24 years, etc. All under a longer periodic warming recovery from the Little Ice Age centered around the Solar Maunder Minimum of the 1760s. It will continue its normal variability, despite the monotonic increase of a tiny trace gas in the atmosphere during that whole time of the late 19th and 20th centuries. That trace gas has risen from next-to-nothing to just a little more then next-to-nothing. Dr. Georg Beck's work with old published laboratory results from the 18th and 19th centuries scientific teams, including four Nobel Prize winners, even undermine that thesis of growing CO2 levels. Scientists of those times reveal varying CO2 levels measurements, as High as 440 ppm, some 55 ppm higher than today, but averaging 340 ppm not the supposed 280 ppm "pre-industrial" level as uncorrected ice core proxies would show.

That IPCC thesis is derived from proxies like Ice Core analysis, without proper corrections for hydrate formation, per the World's foremost Ice Core Scientist, and former head of the IPCC group before he broke with them. He was upset with the non-Scientist bureaucrats, distorting his work and rewriting his research, and specifically not incorporating needed hydrate pressure corrections, simply to try and match Mauna Loa results prior to its existence.

This proposed marginal warming is wholly beneficial were it to come; and it will periodically, since it extends the growing cycle.

If Mankind is indeed responsible for the tiny increase in the trace amount of CO2 present, and not an Ocean out-gassing phenomenon, into the Atmosphere, it proves nothing.

Trends in fossil fuel usage, the supposed source of this tiny supposedly anthropogenic CO2 increase, already point downwards for every petroleum market save One, the Transportation Sector where demand is still growing.

But the Electrification of Ground Transport will soon end that, and reverse that trend too. Then the monotonic increase that supposedly Mankind has caused will reverse itself, without all the transfer of money and power to left wing idiots, as they envision.

If Mr. Gore actually believed the tripe he spreads, instead of simply amassing a new net worth of hundreds of $ millions from a paltry few million that his father left him (from the Oil industry!), he would never have purchased a 5 million dollar seafront Mansion that by his own reckoning will soon be under 20 feet of rising sea level. What Suckers he contemptuously feels your all are.

The only thing that Mr. Gore is qualified to do, by his aborted academic education, is preach Fire and Brimstone sermons. He certainly does a good job at that. Even there, he almost flunked out; he dropped out instead, before flunking out. He studied no Science, and failed the few courses he was forced to take, save one where he got a "D".

And this is the guy to believe regarding anything to do with Science?

As for the IPCC, that is a wholly politicized organization seeking Money and Power. Its interim reports are prepared and written by bureaucrats and not Scientists. They complete their work BEFORE the real Scientists finish their own work, that supposedly justifies their writings, in the first place; but obviously do not do so.

Lewis Carrol described this activity best in "Alice in Wonderland" where the the Red Queen demands: Sentence First! Trial Later! The IPCC non-scientist bureaucrats write their reports and publish them, BEFORE the data and Science reports from the Scientists are even prepared, on which they are supposed to be based.

Many a prominent IPCC Scientist has broken with the IPCC for ignoring and even reversing what they have written; and then ignoring all efforts for correction.

Bacteriologist Dr. Paul Reiser, Sea Level Authority Dr. Axil-Morner, and Ice Core authority Dr. Zbiegneiw Jawowroski are but a few of the prominent former IPCC selected authorities, who chaired IPCC subgroups in their knowledge areas, to have rebelled at the perversion, misuse, and outright distortion of their Science.

Then of course, there is the revolutionary theoretical Science of Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi of NASA. He shows that Earth-like planets with oceans of liquid GHGs, cannot have a runaway GHG catatophe, as they have achieved a "Saturated GHG Condition" millions of years ago. Other wise they would have already runaway millions of years ago. His Theories were evolved to reconcile NASA satellite data, that he was one of the first to have to analyze, and that disagreed with results of conventional atmospheric radiation theories on which GHG theory rests. Hence his theoretical work is both theoretical, AND already confirmed by existing empirical data.

In its own way, it merely corresponds to the fine correction that Einstein made to Newton's Laws, in which a new matehmatical term became all important. So also with Dr. Miskolczi's work. The mis-interpretations of mathematical solutions of Schwatzchild/Milne, as with Einstein, were simply wrong. The corrections by Einstein and Miskolczi, merely correct the error, and incidently produce astounding consequences.

One we know of as Relativity. The other is "Saturated GHG Condition" and an impossible oncoming world catastrophe due to GHG AGW.

Stan Peterson


Too bad you environmental catastrophes are not occurring, as you envision, apparently so deliciously.

During WWII over 3000 Oil Tankers were torpedoed and sunk, yet there was no unrecoverable eco-disaster due to all that Oil dispersal. When was the last big Tanker Oil spill? Twenty or thirty years ago? Or was it the
left wing's newly-sainted Dictator of Iraq's release of oil into the small, restricted waters of the Gulf of Arabia, the last big spill?

The reality is that massive amounts of Oil dispersal is certainly bad in the short term as it kills marine life. But after a short time, it is beneficial as Oil is a bacterial food that promotes life growth all up the food chain.

For many years, so-called environmental assessments, of St. George's Sound, scene of the inexcusable, Exxon Valdez disaster, readily reported that things had not returned to pre-disaster so-called "normal" conditions.

Only when you bothered to read the fine print, beyond the Newspaper headlines, that you discovered that the non-return was to a then existing lower amount of wild life. The fertilizing of the Sound by all that spilled Oil led to increased, and over-abundance of most marine life, and hence a "non-normal" amount of "too much" wildlife!

Some ecological disaster. As played for newspaper headlines, and to reinforce the lawsuits of the greedy eco-lawyers.

I'm not excusing the Oil companies. We don't want eco-disasters, but the over-hype and distortion is truly prodigious. Most fisheries were indeed exhausting in the '60s and '70s but not any more. Fishing restrictions have rebuilt many a fishery. But fishing is a remnant of the Hunter-Gatherer lifestyle that our nomadic, prehistoric forefathers conducted. It is a depleting and uncontrolled exploitation of a resource; yet so beloved of the "Nobel Savage" as envisoned by left-wing eco-fruitcakes. Fish aqua-culture like land agriculture, 10,0000 years ago, is the wave of the future.

Marine mammal stocks have regrown to levels not seen seen since before Whaling began 250 years ago. The Oceans are much healthier than ever. Only genuine idiots, subscribe to your thesis that the World is actually going to hell in a handbasket.

People like the newly appointed presidential Science Advisor subscribe to the thesis that all is lost. When he lost his famous bet with Julian Simon that the Earth's human population would have collapsed due to dozens of items of "resource exhaustions" including Iron(!) had he truly reached total stupidity. Predicting shortages of iron on a planet of 25% iron, is truly ignorant.

There are a hell of a lot more than the 22 million starving peasants, picking over the deserted remains of US cities trying to avert starvation, as he so confidently predicted and published in his books that was sure to happen by year 2000.

But now he is Mr. Obama's designated official Scientific Fortuneteller. Strike one for Mr. Obama's left wing Science.

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