Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide: The Global Environment and World Food Production, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide

The Global Environment and World Food Production, 1st Edition

By Sylvan H. Wittwer

CRC Press

256 pages

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Hardback: 9780873717960
pub: 1995-07-14
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Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide presents the most comprehensive and up-to-date discussion on the effects of the rising level of atmospheric carbon dioxide on crop production and plant growth. The emphasis is global. It examines crops of economic value, with special attention to the food crops that stand between people and starvation.

The author has brought together his knowledge and 50 years of experience dealing with global food production problems, coupled with and a background of his own premier research on the positive effects of elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on plant growth and crop productivity. Topics addressed include the climate as a resource in food production and climatic impacts and direct effects from rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on crops. The book provides global and regional projections of a CO2 -induced climate change and food production. Food security is discussed and future possibilities for research are presented. Suitable as a text and invaluable as a reference, it presents the latest developments drawn from a wide scientific community and uses language and terminology appropriate for a diverse audience.


"I consider this book a 'must' reading for all persons working with 'Global Change' or 'greenhouse warming' issues. It is also an excellent summary for the non-technical reader wanting to better understand the State of the art science and the potential of interactions for many complex biological responses resulting from increasing atmosphere levels of greenhouse gases, particularly for food production. Wittwer's 'Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide' highlights the importance of climate and weather as a natural resource in global agricultural production. It outlines the complex interactions between climate and weather and biological systems globally and nationally. The role of climate and weather variability and extremes, usually ignored by the 'greenhouse warming' community, is correctly identified as being of greater importance to world food production, as it has been in the past and during the present time and will be in the future. The variability and extremes are the keys to future food supplies, regardless of whether the potential for global warming is achieved as projected by the limited capabilities of current General Circulation models (GCMs).

-Norton D. Strommen

Chief Meteorologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, World Agricultural Outlook Board

Table of Contents


Scope of the Volume

Role of Climate in Agriculture and Human Progress

Historical Aspects

Climate as a Resource in Food Production



Lengths of the Growing Season

Interannual Variations

Extreme Events

Growing Degree Days

Water Resources

Precipitation Patterns



The Chemical Climate

Sunlight, Solar Energy, and Cloud Cover

Protected Cultivation - Controlled Environment Agriculture

Climatic Impacts from Rising Levels of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases

Introduction: Historical Records, Current Status, and Projections



Rapidity of Climate Change

Lengthening of Growing Season

Frosts and Freezes - Frequency and Timing

Frequency of Drought

Enhancement of Potential Evapotranspiration

Climate Modeling and Analogs

Crop Modeling

Climate and Food Scenarios

Direct Effects of Rising Levels of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Crops

Introduction and History

Photosynthetic Capacity

Water Use Efficiency

Irrigated Crop Production

Interactions with Air Pollutants

Pest Control - Species Competition

Crop Responses - Differential Effects of Plant Parts

Biological Nitrogen Fixation

Mutually Compensating Growth Factors

Greenhouse Crop Production

Global and Regional Projections of a CO2-Induced Climate Change and Food Production

Introduction: Food Production and the Resource Base

The Major Food Crops

Forest Trees and Forests

Vegetable Crops

Rangelands, Grazing Lands, Wetlands

Aquatic Plants

Other Considerations

Livestock and Poultry: The Food Animals

Global Implications for Developed and Developing Economies

Other Implications of Climate Change and Food Security

Stratospheric Ozone Depletion


Rise in Sea Levels

Adaptation of Food Production to Climate Change as Reflected by Geographical Shifts in Crops and Livestock

Impact of Agricultural Practices on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change

Policy Strategies Relating to World Agriculture and the Rising Level of Greenhouses Gases

Research Directions for the Future

The "No Regret" Approach

Climate Change

The Biological Component




Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Meteorology & Climatology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General