Author: David Fogarty, Reuters

  • Rising temperatures threaten rice yield growth

    Rising temperatures could slow the growth of rice production unless farmers adapt by changing management practices and switch to more heat-tolerant varieties, scientists say. Rice is among the world’s most important crops and a staple for people in Asia and Africa, with Asia producing and consuming more than 90 percent of the world’s output. A drop in production could lead to higher prices, fears over food security and more hunger in a world with a rising human population. A team of researchers led by Jarrod Welch of the University of California, San Diego, found that rice yields drop as night time temperatures rise over time, although the exact reasons why are not perfectly understood.

  • British report clears climate scientists of exaggeration

    Leading climate scientists on Thursday welcomed a British report that cleared researchers of exaggerating the effects of global warming and said they hoped it would restore faith in the fight against climate change. The University of East Anglia, in eastern England, launched an inquiry after more than 1,000 emails hacked from its climate research unit were put on the Internet. Climate change skeptics leaped on the “climategate” emails as evidence scientists had exaggerated or lied about man’s role in global warming, leading to a surge in cyber and media attacks on climate scientists. The emails were leaked just before last December’s major U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen and helped sour the public’s belief in the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions blamed for heating up the planet.

  • Melting glaciers and snow put millions at risk in Asia

    Increased melting of glaciers and snow in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau threatens the food security of millions of people in Asia, a study shows, with Pakistan likely to be among the nations hardest hit. A team of scientists in Holland studied the impacts of climate change on five major Asian rivers on which about 1.4 billion people, roughly a fifth of humanity, depend for water to drink and to irrigate crops. The rivers are the Indus, which flows through Tibet and Pakistan, the Brahmaputra, which carves its way through Tibet, northeast India and Bangladesh, India’s Ganges and the Yangtze and Yellow rivers in China. Studies in the past have assumed that a warmer world will accelerate the melting of glaciers and snow in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau, which act like water towers, the study published in the latest issue of the journal Science says.