Bildtext får vara max två rader text. Hela texten ska högerjusteras om den bara ska innehålla fotobyline! Photo: B. Christensen/Azote
FOOD SECURITY SCENARIOS
A single climate event could trigger worldwide wheat shortages
- What happens if climate change recreates a Dust Bowl-like event similar to that of the 1930s when severe dust storms damaged the ecology and agriculture of American and Canadian prairies?
- Researchers simulates the impacts on global trade networks of such an extreme production shock
- The shock could lead to a 30% decline in wheat reserves globally after four years
How a modern-day US Dust Bowl event could disrupt global food trade networks
A SHOCK TO THE GLOBAL FOOD SYSTEM: The corona pandemic is causing disruptions at a scale never experienced before in modern history.
But what happens if climate change recreates a Dust Bowl-like event similar to that of the 1930s when severe dust storms damaged the ecology and agriculture of American and Canadian prairies?
A study published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, co-written by centre researcher Miina Porkka along with an international cohort of experts, simulates the impacts on global trade networks of such an extreme production shock.
The future of global food security could be severely compromised.
Assessing the potential impact of extreme weather events not only on food production, but also on the global trade system, is critical for understanding the far-reaching effects of production shocks in a globalized economy.
Miina Porkka, co-author
Due to the interconnected nature of global food systems and with the US being a major exporter of agricultural products, disruptions to US production can have far-reaching impacts.
Using historical data from the US Dust Bowl period along with data on global wheat production, trade, and reserves, the authors create a model which simulates the cascading effects of a food production shock on the global food network.
The model shows that if the US taps into its reserves, adjusts trade flows, other countries follow. The shock propagates through the entire system until all countries have met their wheat demand, leading to a 30% decline in wheat reserves globally after four years.
Testing the resilience of trade networks
Even though extreme production declines would lead to substantial shortfalls in supply both in the United Stated and in other countries, the magnitude with which a country is hit importantly depends on its reserves and relative position in the trade network.
The authors claim that the approach used in this study can be applied to any shock scenario to test the resilience of trade networks and identify potential weaknesses in it.
“Simulating the effects of such production losses in different producing areas of the world can help in identifying vulnerabilities of food supply to extreme events and target reserve levels to protect populations from food supply crises”, the authors conclude.
Podcast: The role of food in the pandemic: food security, shocks and transformations
The authors use historical data on global wheat production, trade, and reserves to create an initial state into which production shocks are then introduced. The historical US Dust Bowl is used as a temporal analog event for US production declines, which are based on observed data of declines in production during the Dust Bowl relative to a 1921–1930 baseline period. The cascading effects of such a disruption through the international trade network of wheat are then simulated using the Food Shock Cascade (FSC) model, whereby a shortage in food supply can either be absorbed at the national level or propagated to trade partners by decreasing exports and increasing imports.
General news | 2023-02-02
Three quick questions for Marcus Lundstedt, our new head of communications
We welcome Marcus Lundstedt, the centre's new head of communications, and have a quick chat with him about his new role
Research news | 2023-01-30
The best way to deal with shocks is by combining diverse responses
Humankind’s best chance to deal with looming turbulences and crises is by diversifying response strategies
Research news | 2023-01-30
Policymakers need to work more closely with researchers to fight the global food crisis
We are facing the worst food crisis in modern history – Sweden and the EU need to take action to shift how food is produced and consumed. That was the message from researchers to policymakers during a high-level meeting for the Swedish government at Stockholm Resilience Centre
Research news | 2023-01-19
Time for an "IPCC for the ocean"
Leading ocean experts propose a new International Panel for Ocean Sustainability (IPOS) to build consensus and inform policy
Research news | 2023-01-13
Going beyond dichotomies of local versus global food systems
Food systems are becoming increasingly stressed, but whether they are local or global is not the big issue
Research news | 2022-12-22
Overshooting climate targets could significantly increase risk for tipping cascades
Temporarily overshooting the climate targets of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius could increase the tipping risk of several Earth system elements by more than 70 per cent, a new risk analysis study shows