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With temperatures creeping up as the climate warms, those very hungry caterpillars could get even hungrier, and more abundant. Crop losses to pests may grow.
Insects will be “eating more of our lunch,” says Curtis Deutsch of the University of Washington in Seattle. Based on how heat revs up insect metabolism and reproduction, he and his colleagues estimate that each degree Celsius of warming temperatures means an extra 10 to 25 percent of damage to wheat, maize and rice. Their prediction appears in the Aug. 31 Science.
Insects already munch their way through 8 percent of the world’s maize and wheat each year, and damage 14 percent of rice, Deutsch says. If Earth’s average global temperature rises just 2 degrees above preindustrial levels, annual crop losses could reach about 10 percent for maize, 12 percent for wheat and 17 percent for rice. That’s a total loss of about 213 million tons for the three grains combined.
Tropical insects are often already near the ceiling of their temperature tolerance, where an insect has to cope with so much heat damage that reproduction rates falter. In cooler temperate zones, where wheat is grown, insects have much more leeway to live faster. That makes future wheat especially vulnerable, Deutsch says.
The Sahara desert was once a tropical jungle. As little as 6,000 years ago, the vast Sahara Desert was covered in grassland that received plenty of rainfall, but shifts in the world's weather patterns abruptly transformed the vegetated region into some of the driest land on Earth.
Little Ice Age (LIA), climate interval that occurred from the early 14th century through the mid-19th century, when mountain glaciers expanded at several ...
The Little Ice Age was caused by the cooling effect of massive volcanic eruptions, and sustained by changes in Arctic ice cover, scientists conclude. An international research team studied ancient plants from Iceland and Canada, and sediments carried by glaciers.
During the height of the Little Ice Age , it was in general about one degree Celsius colder than at present. The Baltic Sea froze over, as did most of the rivers in Europe. Winters were bitterly cold and prolonged, reducing the growing season.
The Little Ice Age occurred just after the Medieval Warming Period extending from the 16th to the 19th century and caused a great deal of problems for life at the time. It mainly occurred in Europe and North America and it caused colder winters increasing starvation and causing famine.
Bottom line: What caused the Little Ice Age, a period of cooling that's generally agreed to have ended in the 19th century. One idea is that decreased radiation from the sun caused this period of widespread cooling on Earth.
The Little Ice Age is a period between about 1300 and 1870 during which Europe and North America were subjected to much colder winters than during the 20th century. The period can be divided in two phases, the first beginning around 1300 and continuing until the late 1400s.
Research has predicted a new solar 'Maunder minimum' in the 2030s. The earth is a few years from a period of low solar activity similar to that last seen during the "mini ice-age" of the 17th century, when the Thames froze.
The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly was a time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region that may have been related to other warming events in other regions during that time, including China and other areas, lasting from c. 950 to c. 1250.
Climate scientists now understand that the Medieval Warm Period was caused by an increase in solar radiation and a decrease in volcanic activity, which both promote warming. Other evidence suggests ocean circulation patterns shifted to bring warmer seawater into the North Atlantic.
The last great cold cycle, which we know as the Ice Age, ended about 10,000 years ago. During the Ice Age, the Earth's average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions.
By this definition, we are in an interglacial period—the Holocene—of the ice age. The ice age began 2.6 million years ago at the start of the Pleistocene epoch, because the Greenland, Arctic, and Antarctic ice sheets still exist.