Where and when will food insecurity occur in the world? Where will food shortages affect the lives of large numbers of people in the coming months? How will anthropogenic climate change impact food production in the coming decades? Since 2003, the Climate Hazards Group has taken a climate science-based approach to answering these fundamental questions.
Using a combination of remote sensing data and ground observations as inputs, CHG scientists have developed rainfall and other models that reliably predict crop performance in parts of the world vulnerable to crop failure. Policy makers within governments and at non-governmental organizations rely on CHG decision-support products for making critical resource allocation decisions.
Today, due mainly to insufficient water availability, fifty nations throughout the world face chronic food shortages, with 20% or more of their populations under-nourished. In the next twenty years, the average supply of water per person world-wide is expected to drop by a third. By 2050, as many as seven billion people may face acute, persistent water shortages.
As water availability shrinks in many of the world's food-producing regions, effective climate change adaptation will determine the fates of billions of people. Effective adaptation requires knowing where increasingly scarce rains will fall, where snowpack will accumulate and melt, and where lack of precipitation of any kind will render specific locales uninhabitable.
In the coming years, the CHG will broaden its focus to include more nations, as well as longer time horizons.