The Compound Effects of Climate Variability and Climate Change on Food Security

Friday, February 17, 2012: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room 110 (VCC West Building)
This panel focuses on projected alterations in mean climate and climate variability, and what these combined changes imply for future global food security. Two climate examples will be presented: changes in growing-season temperature extremes beyond the range of climate variability observed in the historical record, and changes in the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. Projected climate changes are taken from models used in the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; in the case of ENSO, further analysis is provided by offline models of the tropical atmosphere-ocean system and the application of downscaling models to better assess the spatial and temporal changes in precipitation variability. The implications of altered climate variability on a new mean state will be discussed in the context of global markets for major staple commodities, which are already under pressure from increased population-, income-, and energy-driven demands. Changes in future food security will be assessed in relation to regional commodity trade, international price volatility, and food access for net consumers versus producers in poor countries. In addition to presenting results, the panel will discuss the analytical process, including challenges in identifying knowledge gaps, in determining appropriate research methods, and in developing viable policy, institutional, and investment options for coping with climate change, climate variability, and food insecurity.
Rosamond Naylor, Stanford University
Daniel J. Vimont, University of Wisconsin
Impacts of El Niño in a Warmer World
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