WASHINGTON — A new study showed that the rainfall on wheat, soybean, rice and maize globally would be changed by 2040 even if humans reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that almost 14 percent of land growing the four major crops would be drier while up to 31 percent would be wetter.
However, in a scenario with low greenhouse gas emissions, most regions have two to three decades more to adapt than a high-emission scenario, according to the study released by International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
The study showed that Southwestern Australia, Southern Africa, southwestern South America and the Mediterranean would become drier while Canada, Russia, Indian and the Eastern United States would be wetter.
China and India, the world’s most populous countries, are among those that will have much wetter fields for the four crops included in the study under any emission scenario.
More precipitation may mean higher production, but when coupled with rising sea levels, higher temperatures and increased potential for flooding, higher production is not assured, according to the study.
“Farmers growing crops in those areas are going to experience significantly different conditions than what they are used to,” said Julian Ramirez-Villegas, a scientist at CIAT.