Jul 22, 2019 | Updated: 09:15 AM EDT

Crop-Killing Climate Out To Destroy Midwest Farms

Jun 20, 2019 11:20 AM EDT

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Infrastructure damages along with all the crops that had gone to waste -- all these have been the result of devastatingly strong rainfall that led to flooding. Though scientists are not able to make a distinction of a storm that is a result of regular changes in weather conditions or if it is a result of climate change, the rains that have been experienced in the area are a perfect illustration of what the scientists predicted. The rains are only going to be more intense.

The models for climate change that scientists have prepared only shows how worse the conditions are going to be. The seasons are getting hotter and the burst of rain showers are only going to be stronger. However, some areas may also experience long patches of drought over the summer.

"We are trying to fight against it in the Midwest. We remain hopeful that it isn't too late or too early to do something to keep the worst from happening," said Evan DeLucia, Plant Biology Professor from the University of Illinois. During the Summer, people in the Midwest should be experiencing weather conditions that are similar to those California, Italy or Greece have. Dry summers and temperate winters should be a rather nice concept.

However, in the report co-authored by DeLucia that was published in the journal Ecosphere, this weather condition could mean something different for a farmer working with corn crops. They might need more water as the dry spell hit their corps could mean needing more water than usual. The problem boils down to the basic knowledge on plant biology. The water is able to reach the other parts of the plant from the roots through the stems that deliver it. However, when a molecule of water reaches the leaf, the warm weather will make it evaporate in the air and will then pull all the other water molecules from the ground and up in the air.

"For every fraction of the atmosphere that is kept warm, a little more water is loss in the plant," said DeLucia.

When this event continues, plants will eventually dry up reaching its death. Such death in plants may mean so little, but it also means food loss. "It is not just about the number of plants that die, it is also about people losing food," said Jessica Hellmann, director of the Institute of Environment of the University of Minnesota. "The trend in what people choose to eat is now going towards the direction of more meat consumption. This fact is worrisome considering the health risks that people put themselves into with the increase in meat consumption."

This shift in the dietary choice of people puts farmers in the Midwest under more pressure. In order to help pull down the risks of diseases due to overconsumption of meat, farmers must produce more grains to help balance the diet.

"The crop yields are still able to keep up with the pace, but it is getting harder and harder to make it happen,' says DeLucia. "The most promising solution is within arm's reach and that concerns decarbonizing the atmosphere and making the world cleaner and greener."

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