Climate change a serious threat to food security

In 21st century the major concern of scientists is to enhance the food production but the climate change is major threat for food security. Much of the data is available showing the adverse effects of climate change on crop yield. Internationally copious attention is given to adaptation strategies to climate change.

Climate change a serious threat to food security

Resultant there is considerable increase in climate change related projections. The developing countries are highly vulnerable due to climate change and they have to pay the greater costs. Industrialized countries should realize their responsibility to tackle the problem of increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses.

In the coming decades, farming will be even more risky due to increase in temperature and rising of sea level which will ultimately lead towards change in weather patterns. Also the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events will be increased.

Additionally there are various uncertainties as it is not possible to know the exact shape of weather events in next eras of climate change. Predictability of the system is greatly affected due to uncertainties. So understanding the relevant limits of predictability should be critically researched. Also it limits the assessment process to predict the future food production.

Climate change is exerting significant deleterious effects on livestock, crop, fisheries and all other living and non-living things on this planet. Among these various impacts are already measured. To get the improved crop yields all the dimensions of food security must be considered.

The impacts of climate change will be exerted on all the dimensions of food security such as availability, access to the available resources, stability and utilization. As a result whole food system will be affected. Food utilization is also affected by climate change by two different dimensions that are food safety and health.

Due to climate change the microbial growth rates will be much higher in upcoming years that will reduce the food safety.The indirect effects of climate change are also adverse, such as migration, loss of jobs and fewer working options Natural disasters, heat stress, vector borne diseases will become much common due to climate change. Due to this scenario water related issues will also become severe such as less availability and increased contamination.

Crop Climate Modeling

It is one of the key factors to develop the outlooks for future agriculture. It will be helpful for the policy processes and field level decisions. Despite of these limitations in crop climate modeling, the projections based on this model strongly indicate that globally food production will be decreased up-to much lesser extent due to climate change. There will be changes in the prevalence of pest and diseases, feed quality and quantity will be reduced for livestock and overall production will be impaired due to physiological and abiotic stresses.

By 2050, 5-10% decrease in fish catch in marine ecosystem will be observed due to spatial variation. Due to changes in ocean temperatures, pH, nutrients supply, ice thickness and wind patterns there will be significant changes in the distribution patterns of plankton and fish.

Directly or indirectly food security is related to ecosystems. Due to climate change pressure is exerted on ecosystems. Biodiversity is decreased due to extreme events and increase in temperature which is directly related to resilience of food systems.

Economic and agricultural components of agricultural systems are also being affected due to climate change. Mainly poor persons and marginalized communities are under greater risk of suffering due to climate change. So significant efforts should be made to eliminate poverty by dealing with the changing climate.

Climate change and the developing countries

Many developing countries have already experienced the worst weather events in the form of heat waves, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones. Every year the frequency and intensity of these events in getting more than the previous years. Mainly the enhanced rate of glacial melting is disturbing the river flows thus affecting the productivity and phenology of biological systems.

When it comes for the agricultural systems technological developments are of equal importance that influence the agricultural management and land use. But in the developing countries the effects of climate change will be more evident due to traditional practices of land management.

So in the developing countries the observational series should be expanded. Special attention should be given to the tropical and subtropical climates. Such kind of strategies may help to increase the knowledge and adaptive response in rural populations and in agricultural systems in the developing countries.

Reginal climate projections

For many regions in the world, regional climate projections are available. But the available projections are downscaled for the developing countries as compare to the developed ones. According to these projections some areas are warmer than others due to small thermal inertia and less evaporative cooling.

In Africa the warming is more projected than the annual mean warming globally. In south East Asia the warming is projected like similar to the global warming. In Latin America warming is also projected like similar to the global warming.


Due to the serious threats to the food security, action oriented attention should be shifted to research agenda with main focus on changing the recent culture of research. Unfortunately in the applied disciplines there is much gap between research activities and implementation.  This research implementation gap is going to be more apparent.

Stakeholder’s portfolios type options should be given to the farmers, countries and communities. Adaptation actions which are relevant to the climate change and food security should be ensured. Most importantly the adaptation and mitigation processes and techniques should be combined. Urgently the threats caused by the changing climates to food security should be addressed. Due attention should be given to both incremental and transformative changes.

Policies for the climate change adaptations should be carefully devised. They should be the integral part of developmental policies. Extent of adaptation should also be measured. Representatives from private sectors, researchers and government officials should analyze the challenges and opportunities to combat the hazardous effects of climate change. Limited funding, multiple options, objectives and decision supportive framework should be taken into account.

Authors: Tabinda Athar & Madiha Nisar 


By Tabinda Athar

Agrarian, aimed to achieve food security.