Potatoes are the most important non-grain crop globally. Nighttime temperatures are particularly important for potatoes: if they are too warm, tuber growth declines and this increase alone could undermine global potato production. Under a business-as-usual scenario researchers estimate up to 95% of English and Welsh potato-growing land currently dependent on rainfall will become unsuitable for production by 2050 because of increasingly dry conditions. With irrigation, other areas could remain productive but will be constrained by limited access to that water. Potato yields in eastern Washington State could drop as much as 22% by 2080 due to rising temperatures.
Yields of major staple crops like wheat and rice are being hurt by increasing temperatures. Wine grape production is moving to cooler climes causing changes in the character of some of our favorites. The flavors and health benefits of teas, the size of potatoes, the sting of a hot pepper, where fish call home in the oceans, and a future decline in protein in vegetables—it’s all changing.
Our food database shows the ingredients affected by a changing climate.
To learn what farmers, scientists, and many others are doing to keep the menu stocked, see Stewardship of the Land and Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need. You have a role, too!
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This food ingredient database is in its early phase and we will strive to expand it on an ongoing basis so that everyone is aware of how climate change is affecting the foods we love and need.