Abstract: Population growth and climate change are likely to impact upon food and water availability over the coming decades. In this study we use an ensemble of climate simulations to project the implications of both these drivers on regional changes in food and water. This study highlights the dominant effect of population growth on per capita resource allocation over climate induced changes in our model projections. We find a strong signal for crop yield reductions due to climate change by the 2050s in the absence of CO2 fertilisation effects. However, when these additional processes are included this trend is reversed. The impacts of climate on water resources are more uncertain. Overall, we find reductions in the global population living in water stressed conditions due to the combined effects of climate and CO2. Africa is a key region where projected decreases in runoff and crop productivity from climate change alone are potentially reversed when CO2 fertilisation effects are included, but this is highly uncertain. Plant physiological response to increasing atmospheric CO2 is a major driver of the changes in crop productivity and water availability in this study; it is poorly constrained by observations and is thus a critical uncertainty.
Keywords: climate; carbon dioxide; CO2 fertilisation; food security; water resources; population change; Africa
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Wiltshire, A.J.; Kay, G.; Gornall, J.L.; Betts, R.A. The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2129-2151.
Wiltshire AJ, Kay G, Gornall JL, Betts RA. The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s. Sustainability. 2013; 5(5):2129-2151.
Wiltshire, Andrew J.; Kay, Gillian; Gornall, Jemma L.; Betts, Richard A. 2013. "The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s." Sustainability 5, no. 5: 2129-2151.