I continued my exploration of IFPRI’s wonderful Droppr software by looking at its future climate tool. You click on a spot on the Earth and it tells you how total precipitation and average temperature will change, for each month of the year. Again, I did it for the mother-in-law’s farm, and this is the result:
Looks pretty bad, at least for temperature. Although of course, for maize at least, which is the main food crop in that area, what you really want to know is peak, rather than average, temperatures. That’s according to a study by David Lobell and Marianne Bänziger we nibbled a few days back, and which recently got a big write up in The Economist:
Days above 30°C are particularly damaging. In otherwise normal conditions, every day the temperature is over this threshold diminishes yields by at least 1%. Moreover, days where the temperature exceeds 32°C do twice the harm of those at 31°C. And during a drought, things are worse still. Then, yields take a hit of 1.7% per day over 30°C.