Climate change could leave southern Britain ‘unable’ to support crops

(The Independent, 30 Oct 2019) Agriculture accounts for 72 per cent of land use in the UK and employs one million people.

Climate change could turn the Garden of England into a “parched grassland” that is unable to support crops, according to a new study. 

Currently, cows and sheep are typically grazed in the north and west of Britain but, by 2100, warmer temperatures could force farmers to switch to more profitable arable farming.

Without significant irrigation, large swathes of the south and east of the country could become too dry for crops and, instead, be better suited to low-density livestock farming, according to new research. 

If emissions continue at current rates, Britain will be 5C warmer by the end of the century, and would experience up to 140mm less rainfall during the growing season between April and September, according to the paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Lead researcher Professor Tim Lenton, from the University of Exeter, said this level of climate change would result in a transformation of the country’s landscape.

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The Independent, 30 Oct 2019: Climate change could leave southern Britain ‘unable’ to support crops