LA Times: Study Says Climate Change Threat to California Agriculture

The California we know is the breadbasket of the nation, producing more than two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts, including almonds, pistachios, oranges, apricots, nectarines and prunes, and more than a third of its vegetables, including artichokes, broccoli, spinach and carrots. It’s all valued at more than $50 billion a year.

That’s the assessment of a recent paper by a University of California team led by Tapan Pathak of UC Merced. But the researchers focused on a different aspect of California agriculture: You can kiss much of it goodbye because of climate change.

The paper, published in the journal Agronomy last month, is the most thorough review of the literature on the regional impact of climate change in recent memory. It makes grim reading.

Among the chief manifestations of climate change will be changes in precipitation patterns, leading to more drought and more flooding, and spottier water storage. Generally warmer temperatures, not to mention more frequent and severe heat waves, will reduce yields of wine grapes, strawberries and walnuts; shorter chill seasons will make vast areas no longer suitable for chestnuts, pecans, apricots, kiwis, apples, cherries and pears. Plant diseases and pests will move into regions where they haven’t been a problem before.

Read the entire article from the Los Angeles Times by Michael Hiltzik here.

Read the entire paper “Climate Change Trends and Impacts on California Agriculture: A Detailed Review” by a University of California team led by Tapan Pathak of UC Merced here.

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