(KXAN) — Climate change is not only costing the United States money as supercharged weather events are leading to more billion-dollar disasters every year; it is also affecting the production and availability of everyday goods — even alcohol.
“All of these products depend on somebody making a bet on a crop,” Dr. Andrew Pershing, climate scientist with Climate Central said. “That bet is getting harder to make as climate change is scrambling the odds.”
Shifting rainfall patterns and hotter temperatures are changing growing zones for certain crops. Added variability in our climate is leading to longer periods without rainfall, intensifying droughts, and also more intense rainfall when it does come, which worsens floods.
“Like any plant, wine grapes have a particular temperature that they’re going to be comfortable in,” Dr. Pershing said. “And many of the famous wine varietals actually have very narrow temperature ranges.”
In addition to temperature changes, worsening western wildfire seasons are increasing cases of smoke taint, where wildfire smoke taints grapes to be used in wine production, making entire batches unusable.
Climate Central worked with Columbia University to model heat and moisture’s impact on crop production in Texas. Projections are that corn productivity in Texas could decline by 25% by the middle or end of this century, translating to a loss of about $360 million per year to the Texas economy.
Future temperature rise and agricultural impacts will vary depending on the course of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.