How Weather Impacts on Food Produce
One of the biggest climatic threats that can impact on food production is that of droughts. Here in Queensland, we remember all too well the way in which a drought that lasted for decades dwindled resources including our water supply and foodstuffs. Of course, we’re lucky that other parts of Australia were at least faring better than us.
But when you consider that country towns were on extreme water restrictions for years and then major cities like Brisbane followed suit when the drought reached its most debilitating levels in history, it’s hard to deny that droughts often spell disaster.
When shifting focus to other countries like Mongolia, droughts have had marked impacts on livestock counts and the very economy of the country itself. While Mongolia is an impoverished country, the once frequent abundance of livestock allowed many to lead more manageable lives. But when drought hit, it reduced the availability of animal feed and plantation. As resources became more scarce, livestock died off in the hundreds of the thousands.
While the cooler months can be beneficial for the production of certain foodstuff, it can also have a marked influence on others. Particularly in countries where conditions can vary wildly (e.g. hot, humid summers and frightfully cold winters), this can place stress on certain crops and either stunt their growth or outright kill them. This is common in areas that receive high levels of snowfall, which can drown the ground and allow the cold to freeze crops completely.
Naturally, the difference between warm and cool conditions play a large role in why why we have seasonal fruits and vegetables. Different conditions nurture different types of foods. On the other hand, however, reasonably cool conditions such as crisp mornings and days where the worst weather conditions that are faced are comprised of cool winds can prove supportive for processes such as winemaking.
One current and future concern that could have a significant impact on food produce is climate change. The most popular theory of that is global warming, whereby the earth’s temperatures will increase, weather conditions will become more sporadic and, over time, the ice caps will melt and sea levels will rise. While the heavier aspects of climate change are still a number of decades away, it has been recorded that average temperatures are generally increasing over the years. Higher maximum temperatures and less predictable weather patterns mean that less bearable heat waves and longer droughts could very well occur. Such changes would require us to find new ways to protect our crops and other food produce.
On the other end of the scale is the less supported theory of global cooling, whereby the earth’s temperatures could actually drop over time. Some more extreme theories liken the possibilities of global cooling to ultimately lead to something akin to a nuclear winter. However, what is known is that part of the sporadic weather patterns climate change can cause doesn’t just lend itself to hotter temperatures. There’s also the converse effect of far colder winters. If climate change were to lead to more bitterly cold winters (including in areas that usually don’t experience such winters), then the increase of dying crops and less salvageable foodstuff could become problematic.