Heatwaves threaten future barley harvests warns study

Yields could drop significantly if summer temperatures continue to rise as part of climate change

August 11th, 2014 10:34 am| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Hot summers and heatwaves like those experienced this year could cause the nation’s output of barley and other grains to decline significantly, according to the results of a three-year study by PhD student Catherine Heinz Ingvordsen at DTU. 

Ingvordsen’s experiment created an environment reminiscent of the UN Climate Panel's future scenarios for Denmark, where there could be a temperature increase of as much as five degrees centigrade by 2075 unless there is a dramatic reduction in the worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases. 

Climate chaos
A five-degree increase would drop the average yield of 138 grain varieties by 29 percent.

”For me, it is clearly worrying as we move towards a future with more and more people and an increasing demand for food,” Ingvordsen told Ingeniøren. 

READ MORE: Failed harvests a windfall for nation's farmers

Ingvordsen said that new types of grain need to be developed.

"By developing and examining the types of grain resistant to climate change, we can work to cultivate new types," she explained.

"But it often takes eight to ten years to create a new variety.” 

Worst case
Ingvordsen examined the effect of ‘worst-case’ heatwaves when temperatures stay at around 33 degrees for ten days when the barley is flowering. This scenario resulted in decreased crop yields of 52 percent. 

Other studies have shown that wheat production will also decline significantly if warmer summers continue in Denmark.

There's nothing like that feeling when you're boarding a ferry in your car, say disappointed users of the Harwich-Esbjerg service (photo: 
Emran Kassim
)
Bring back the Harwich-Esbjerg ferry! But is it really worth it?
George Moore, a 14-year-old Brit based in the English Midlands, has for ove...
Participating in case competitions can put extra pressure on students (photo: iStock)
Student case competitions increasingly popular
Companies, educational institutions and professional organisations in Denma...
'Formation' is not just a song, it is a political statement (photo: VS-Angel)
Beyonce coming to Denmark
Beyonce has announced she will be bringing her 'Formation World Tour' to De...
Falling oil prices have had a major impact (photo: iStock)
Danish export to US and China on the rise
Danish exports to the US and China jumped considerably in 2015, according t...
In 2015, the number of overnights increased by 17 percent in Malmo (photo: Pixabay)
Tourists spending more nights in southern Sweden
Last year, hotels in the Swedish region of Scania recorded a 12 percent inc...
Friday will be a cold day with sleet and snow (photo: Pixabay)
Winter’s coming back!
Following a relatively mild weekend, cold temperatures will return to hit D...