Claim: Climate Change will Cause a Global Corn Crop Failure

Variegated maize ears
Variegated maize ears. By Sam Fentress, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Another global warming food security study based on unrealistic assumptions.

The global corn crop is vulnerable to the effects of climate change


Corn, also known as maize, is the world’s most-produced food crop. But it could be headed for trouble as the Earth warms.

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America finds that climate change will not only increase the risk of food shocks from world corn production but that these crop failures could occur simultaneously.

Increased warming leads to global crop failures because plants are not adapted to really high temperatures,” explains Michelle Tigchelaar, a research associate at the University of Washington. “Most of our crops are really well-adapted for our current climate. There is an optimum temperature at which they grow and beyond that their yields decline. Extreme heat has really negative impacts on … the flowering of crops and also increases their water usage.”

“So, it really does matter if we have two or four degrees of warming,” Tigchelaar says. “It’s not just ‘any warming is bad’ or “any warming doesn’t matter.” It really matters where on that spectrum we land.”

Farmers may be able to find ways to adapt to new conditions. For example, Tigchelaar says her study did not look at the extent to which growing regions could shift. “Already we see that wheat is expanding northward,” she explains. “So, we might be able to soon grow corn in places we couldn’t grow it before. Similarly, farmers might decide to shift their planting dates to avoid the hottest time of the year.”

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Future warming increases probability of globally synchronized maize production shocks

Michelle Tigchelaar, David S. Battisti, Rosamond L. Naylor, and Deepak K. Ray

Meeting the global food demand of roughly 10 billion people by the middle of the 21st century will become increasingly challenging as the Earth’s climate continues to warm. Earlier studies suggest that once the optimum growing temperature is exceeded, mean crop yields decline and the variability of yield increases even if interannual climate variability remains unchanged. Here, we use global datasets of maize production and climate variability combined with future temperature projections to quantify how yield variability will change in the world’s major maize-producing and -exporting countries under 2 °C and 4 °C of global warming. We find that as the global mean temperature increases, absent changes in temperature variability or breeding gains in heat tolerance, the coefficient of variation (CV) of maize yields increases almost everywhere to values much larger than present-day values. This higher CV is due both to an increase in the SD of yields and a decrease in mean yields. For the top four maize-exporting countries, which account for 87% of global maize exports, the probability that they have simultaneous production losses greater than 10% in any given year is presently virtually zero, but it increases to 7% under 2 °C warming and 86% under 4 °C warming. Our results portend rising instability in global grain trade and international grain prices, affecting especially the ∼800 million people living in extreme poverty who are most vulnerable to food price spikes. They also underscore the urgency of investments in breeding for heat tolerance.

Read more:

Whenever I see a study like this, I just think – why?

Michelle Tigchelaar to her credit admitted that farmers might be able to adapt to changed conditions, that they are already adapting to changed conditions.

So why try to make the study seem frightening, why claim the world faces the risk of famine, instead of just saying that growing regions might shift a little if the planet warms?

Even if 4C warming actually occurs, a 200 mile shift in growing regions would fix the problem. Even if we ignore what eighty years of advances in genetic engineering will do for crop resilience, there are vast regions adjacent to existing corn belts which are currently too cold, regions which could be brought into production in a warmer world.

There is no chance a 4C warming would cause a net loss of global corn production.

Besides, there’s this; in the last few “hottest years ever” global corn production continues to rise.

From the article:

Since 1990, 56% of the increase in world corn production has been achieved through higher yields, and the remaining 44% has come from increased acres in corn production.

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Charles Roas
July 15, 2018 4:09 pm

Just think, if we reduced the production of ethanol in the U.S., to zero, there might be enough corn to feed much of the world. And Brazil, instead of sugar cane production could plant more soybeans. Problem solved.

Reply to  Charles Roas
July 15, 2018 4:41 pm

Yup! Then solve food spoilage and distribution – see below.

No more world hunger! Bada bing, bada boom!

Attaboys and Nobels all around!

Now, what to do after breakfast? 🙂

July 15, 2018 5:41 pm

Build coal powered electrical plants in the 3rd world and allow for refrigeration. Saves medicine, too.

Reply to  DonK31
July 15, 2018 7:25 pm

We like forward thinkers!

July 15, 2018 4:10 pm

Fully 40% of the huge USA corn crop is dedicated to corn ethanol. This is simply a huge farm subsidy.

Ethanol is a poor fuel and a destructive waste of scarce groundwater in the Great Plains of the USA.

This is terrible policy – foolish and anti-environmental.

Donald Trump – look in your own house first and get rid of corn ethanol subsidies!

Post from 2012:

One further point that I first looked into a decade ago:

Since then I’ve learned that the vital Ogallala aquifer is dropping at an alarming rate in some locations, due to excess withdrawal of water for irrigation – much of it for corn ethanol.

If the environmental movement truly had the interests of America and the world at heart, they would abandon their fascination with wasteful, inefficient corn ethanol, wind power and solar power, and focus on real environmental problems like vital groundwater conservation.

However, if one analyses their actions, it is clear that the “greens” are not interested in the environment or the wellbeing of humankind. Rather, the environment is merely a convenient smokescreen for their far-left political objectives.

July 15, 2018 4:37 pm

Tell you what Donald Trump:

You get rid of your counter-productive corn ethanol and all other biofuel subsidies and Canada will get rid of our dairy subsidies AND all our biofuel subsidies.

These are all really stupid and costly policies established by imbecilic previous administrations.

Both countries win!

{BTW, you owe me big-time (again) for showing you what to do! Keep up the good work on energy! Attaboys all around!} 🙂

Mike M
July 15, 2018 6:31 pm

Ted Cruz beat Trump in Iowa DESPITE Cruz’s pledge to phase out ethanol mandates and subsidies within 5 or so years.

Mike the Morlock
July 15, 2018 7:06 pm

Hello ALLEN MACRAE We have had corn ethanol for decades due to the oil embargo.
Our issue is with Canadian dairy Tariffs not subsidies. Our subsidies for corn used to blend with gasoline is an internal problem. But you getting your government to stop unfair trade practices is your problem. Maybe instead telling PRESIDENT Trump he change U.S. farm policy you should clean up your own house.
And no, I for one due not “owe you big time”.


Reply to  Mike the Morlock
July 15, 2018 7:45 pm

Hi Mike,

I was CEO of an oil company that also had a corn ethanol plant in Wyoming. I know the corn ethanol business reasonably well. Huge subsidies kept it alive.

The corn ethanol business is simply a huge farm subsidy – as is the Canadian dairy tariff – whatever you want to all them, they are essentially the same – stupid ideas that cost a fortune for taxpayers and/or consumers. Dump them both!

John F. Hultquist
July 15, 2018 9:00 pm

When did the Ogallala begin to drop?
Late Dust Bowl years as government subsidizes were directed at the issue?
It has been a long time since I read about this, and I’ve never lived in the area.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
July 16, 2018 4:26 am

John H:
Pumping from the Ogalalla started in 1911 but major depletion of this aquifer apparently started after WW2, circa 1950. The depletion problem became really obvious circa 1980-1990.

A good summary reference on this issue is National Geographic Magazine: August 2016 Edition.

There is much more information here:
USGS – Groundwater Atlas of the United States

This is REAL environmentalism, not the usual leftist BS, and it is very serious. In a former career I consulted in Hydrogeology and among other projects, wrote the Hydrogeological Impact Assessment for a new major oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Canada.

I have not studied these aquifer systems in detail, but I am very concerned about this issue – I suggest that a solution to the problem is needed – now; preferably several decades ago.

John F. Hultquist
July 16, 2018 7:39 am


July 15, 2018 9:13 pm

Let me double-down, Donald Trump. Sooner or later the Ogalalla Aquifer is going to be excessively depleted and the greatest grain-growing region in the world, the US Midwest, is going to suffer greatly reduced agricultural production.

Canada has excess water (not sure how much – probably lots). It is part of OUR national far-left religion that WE WILL SHIP NO WATER TO THE USA.

But let’s be sensible – to Hell with the leftists – they are scoundrels and/or imbeciles anyway.

If you agree to use Canadian water wisely – to recharge the Ogalalla aquifer, cease foolish and wasteful biofuels production, and use the food to feed the world’s hungry, we can do a deal.

What do you say? Let’s do lunch! 🙂

July 15, 2018 9:33 pm

Canadian leftist heads are exploding after I posted the suggestion above that we sell the USA water for agriculture.

The chanting outside my home is keeping the kids awake and causing dogs to howl into the night.

It’s not all bad though – the crosses burning in the front yard do look festive, and take the chill off the night air.

I was going to go out for an evening stroll but a hail of sticks and stones met me as I ventured outside – funny, the weather report said nothing about this.

Some guy ran up and screamed that I was a murderer! That was just before he tried to kill me.

It is really NOT difficult to figure out these leftist extremists – they simply accuse you of being everything that they truly are – violent lying thugs, scoundrels and imbeciles.

It’s a beautiful night and I’m feeling benevolent towards all mankind, even the lefties.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you how I really feel!

Yours in peace, love and understanding, Allan 🙂

July 15, 2018 4:43 pm

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Reply to  Latitude
July 16, 2018 1:56 am

Latitude, you got bit by the http/https distinction. This new commenting system will only in-line comments with https prefixes, but some web sites don’t support https prefixes, so if you just change http to https it might not work.

Here’s the article that contains the graph which you were citing:

Here’s the graph:
comment image

Reply to  Dave Burton
July 16, 2018 5:09 am

Yea!!! Look at Canada – our country has a small population, but we are doing our bit to increase vital CO2 concentration in the atmosphere! We are beating Russia, a country with almost four times our population! Kinda like hockey! Da! Da! Ca-na-da!!! 🙂


The global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975 (during a time of increasing atmospheric CO2) demonstrates that climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero – so close to zero as to be insignificant.

This and other evidence strongly supports the conclusion that there is NO global warming crisis, except in the fevered minds of warmist propagandists.

There is overwhelming evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans is not dangerously high – it is dangerously low, too low for the continued survival of life on Earth.


I have written about the vital issue of “CO2 starvation” since 2009 or earlier, and others including Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, have also written on this subject:


1. Atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high; in fact, it is dangerously low for the survival of terrestrial carbon-based life on Earth. Most plants evolved with up to 4000 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, or about 10 times current CO2 concentrations.

2. In one of the next global Ice Ages, atmospheric CO2 will approach about 150ppm, a concentration at which terrestrial photosynthesis will slow and cease – and that will be the extinction event for much or all of the terrestrial carbon-based life on this planet.

3. More atmospheric CO2 is highly beneficial to all carbon-based life on Earth. Therefore, CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.

4. As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on this planet, I feel the duty to advocate on our behalf. I should point out that I am not prejudiced against non-carbon-based life forms. They might be very nice, but I do not know any of them well enough to form an opinion. 🙂

Alan Miller
July 15, 2018 5:40 pm

Bang on Allan! Really can’t say anymore than you already said on stupidity inherent in government policies of fake “green” and the fearmongering of the leftist movement- PS we’re all tired of the BS and hypocrisy in so called green movement!

Reply to  Alan Miller
July 15, 2018 11:56 pm

Corn farmers are part of the “green movement” too? Ich bin ein Grün. lol

Joe - the constutioalist
July 15, 2018 6:24 pm

It’s mandated under congressional legislation – have to get congress to repeal. Confess makes law – president executes law

Reply to  Joe - the constutioalist
July 16, 2018 7:38 am

I would love it if congress would confess, but I’m not expecting it.

Joe - the non climate scientists
Reply to  Joe - the constutioalist
July 16, 2018 7:52 am

Typo – Should be congress – not confess.

that being said Alan Miller makes reference to Donald Trump fixing the problem – which I agree is a problem.
However, under the US constitution, the executive branch is required to follow the laws passed by the legislative branch (Congress). So until Congress repeals the enthanol mandate, the president cant do anything – except campaign to have congress repeal it.

July 15, 2018 7:31 pm

I have to put it into language leftists actually can comprehend, sorry to be “over offenisitiphive”. Ethanol is a piss poor internal combustion engine fuel. That is why the political left has been pushing it so hard. Needs to be stated in plain, direct language, no more dancing around the PC horsesh&t euphemisms.

July 16, 2018 2:14 am

Why not drain excess floodwater bact into the aquifer. Problem solved and storage increased

July 16, 2018 4:41 am

Hi Grey,

We know a lot about aquifer recharge from the oil industry. We have to purify and chlorinate the water first before injection – otherwise we get bacterial growth around the injector wells and the aquifer is also contaminated.

Spring flooding in the northern Midwest grain-growing states is a big and frequent problem. Not sure if the idea is practical, but it is interesting. I wonder if the volumes work.

July 16, 2018 12:33 pm

In Albuquerque they pump their quota of the Colorado river into small ponds where it drains into the local aquifer for storage.

Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2018 4:25 pm

Probably works fine – like a sand filter – to clean up the water.

July 16, 2018 10:33 am

In Texas, rivers barely start in the aquifer, so not much floodwater available. The Arkansas River presently has 17 locks and dams. Looks like few are dams.

July 16, 2018 12:37 pm

That is known as a Rhetorical question :
“If the environmental movement truly had the interests of America
and the world at heart”………..THEN
“However, if one analyses their actions, it is clear that the “greens” are
not interested in the environment or the wellbeing of humankind.
Rather, the environment is merely a convenient smokescreen for their
far-left political objectives.”….YOU PROVIDE YOUR OWN ANSWER !!
ALLAN : The “environmental Movement” ( along with the Academics and
the Animal Rights people and their ilk …… ‘Greenpeace’ , WWF etc )
is WHERE all the Communists and Far-Left-liberals WENT once the
disgusting actions of the Soviet and other similar MURDEROUS regimes
became widely known in the WEST .
After the BERLIN WALL fell ……it became THEIR REFUGE !
They conflated “compassion” with “Communist UTOPIAN ideology”
so it “appeared to be acceptable” and “well intended ” BUT OF COURSE
as you pointed out , IT IS MERELY A COVER for their horrendous ,
reprehensible and MURDEROUS IDEOLOGY
for which there EXISTS NO EXCUSE !
THEY HATE AMERICA and ALL IT STANDS FOR , so anything that
will damage the American Ecology , Economy , or any aspect of the
FREE-ENTERPRISE SYSTEM will be their objective .
INFLUENCE will inevitably lead to Socialism ( Communism ).
“Democracy is the road to Socialism……Karl Marx . ”
AND YET WE allow them to use our generosity AGAINST US !!
As soon as people FIND OUT that (under Democracy ) they can
VOTE THEMSELVES MONEY ( Welfare….in ALL it’s forms ) then
you sound the Death-Knell of any civilisation !
CAGW is world-wide-welfare on a CATASTROPHIC SCALE !!!
“Environmentalism” IS EVIL dressed up as “compassion” !!

Reply to  Trevor
July 16, 2018 7:26 pm

Yes Trevor. I wrote the same things long ago, but without all the SHOUTING.”

Here is a recent post from 2014:

TODAY is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Wall was opened on November 9, 1989.

Four months earlier, in July 1989 I had travelled through the Wall via Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. I was with three colleagues on a business trip. It was not a fun trip , but it was highly educational. East Berlin and East Germany were everything Ronald Reagan said they were – repressive, backward, and evil – families were spying on each other and ratting to the Stasi, the dreaded East German Secret Police. I wrote about this trip one year ago today, at

At that time, I re-printed an article called “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”, written in 1994 by Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace. Moore stated, in part:

“Surprisingly enough the second event that caused the environmental movement to veer to the left was the fall of the Berlin Wall. Suddenly the international peace movement had a lot less to do. Pro-Soviet groups in the West were discredited. Many of their members moved into the environmental movement bringing with them their eco-Marxism and pro-Sandinista sentiments. These factors have contributed to a new variant of the environmental movement that is so extreme that many people, including myself, believe its agenda is a greater threat to the global environment than that posed by mainstream society.”

I believe that Patrick Moore was correct, but this is a more personal story.

I went back to Berlin and former East Germany several times in the mid-1990’s, the first time with two colleagues. I recounted to them how, during my first trip there in 1989, I had asked our host if I could go for a jog and was advised that “We do not jog in East Berlin”. He added “You can walk anywhere you want – it is completely safe – not like your London and New York.” We took a walk later that evening from our hotel, the Metropole, and found there were eight armed guardposts in every block.

Now, however, the Berlin Wall had fallen, the Stasi files had been broken open, and East Berlin breathed free after more than 40 years of Soviet domination. It was early on a warm summer evening, and I asked my friends if we could take a long walk to the Brandenburg Gate, once one of the entry points through the Wall. As we approached that grand monument from the Tiergarten, I asked for my friends’ indulgence and broke into a slow jog. I passed under the Brandenburg Gate and continued a short way down Unter den Linden.

You see, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the entire Soviet Union, we do jog in East Berlin.

Regards to all, Allan

Johann Wundersamer
July 17, 2018 5:52 am
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 17, 2018 7:34 pm

Interesting story about Coca-Cola, with a twist.

The East German version of Coke was called “Prick Cola”, reportedly it was named after Stalin. 🙂

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 17, 2018 7:45 pm

I first wrote this circa 2010:

They are probably the same “useful idiots” who said that Communist East Germany was a good model for Canada to emulate. I seem to recall several former NDP leaders who tried to sell us that line of BS (the names Broadbent and Lewis come to mind).

I travelled to East Germany, going through the Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie in 1989, shortly before the Wall fell. East Germany was a cesspool too. While not as materially poor as Castro’s Cuba, it was an even more vicious police state where neighbour spied upon neighbour, and nobody felt safe from the Stasi secret police. Those who tried to escape were shot, and often allowed to bleed to death in “no-man’s land” between the many barbed-wire fences that formed “the Wall”.

The last person to be shot and killed while trying to cross the border from East to West Germany was Chris Gueffroy on February 6, 1989. He was 20 years old. Rest in peace, kid.

July 18, 2018 7:51 am

People vote with their feet – they move out of bad countries into better countries, when they can.

Apologists for repressive and incompetent governments can talk all they want, but there is no question about the truth – PEOPLE TRIED TO ESCAPE FROM EAST GERMANY AND CUBA, NOT THE REVERSE.

J. Parsons
July 16, 2018 2:36 pm

In addition to depleting the aquifer at an alarming rate the surge in ethanol related corn production in the Great Plains has resulted in much marginal land being put under the plow, with resulting loss of native prairie ecosystems and biodiversity.

Reply to  J. Parsons
July 17, 2018 3:30 am

Hello J Parsons.

I agree with your thoughts – as further expanded in this post about the green movement:

“These people are not pro-environment – many of their programs such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforests to grow biofuels, draining the Ogallala aquifer to grow corn for fuel ethanol, clear-cutting eastern US forests to provide wood pellets for British power plants, erecting huge wind power towers to slice up birds and bats, etc are ALL anti-environmental.”

Regards, Allan


The political left has many causes that are utterly foolish and destructive to society and the environment – global warming alarmism and green energy scams are prime examples.
Witness the energy idiocy of recent politicians in Western Europe, Britain, Canada, the USA, and Australia. These idiots have squandered tens of trillions of dollars of scarce global resources on costly, intermittent green energy schemes that are not green and produce little useful (dispatchable) energy, all to save us from imaginary catastrophic global warming – all in a (probably) cooling world.

Fully 85% of global primary energy is still generated from fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal. The remainder is largely generated from nuclear and hydro. Hardly any useful energy is generated from green sources, despite tens of trillions in wasted subsidies – enough money to buy too many corrupt politicians, civil servants and academics.

Anti fossil fuels, anti pipelines, anti fracking, anti oilsands, pro green energy, etc. etc. – these scams are all promoted by the same people, all deliberately harming our economies while wrapping themselves in the cloak of phony environmentalism.

These people are not pro-environment – many of their programs such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforests to grow biofuels, draining the Ogallala aquifer to grow corn for fuel ethanol, clear-cutting eastern US forests to provide wood pellets for British power plants, erecting huge wind power towers to slice up birds and bats, etc are ALL anti-environmental.

The popularity of global warming mania in the media and the general population is explained by the Dunning Kruger effect, as defined below.


By Wikipedia

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the metacognitive inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.[1] On the other hand, people of high ability incorrectly assume that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for other people.[2]

As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the cognitive bias of illusory superiority results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”[1]

By George Carlin

“Think of how stupid the average person is; and then realize half of them are stupider than that!”

July 15, 2018 4:12 pm

Global corn crop keeps changing, in sync with CO2. It catastrophically fails to limit a growth of human population (famine can be an excellent limiting factor, as shown in the USSR).

Reply to  Curious George
July 15, 2018 4:29 pm

I suggest that famine is only “excellent” if you and those you love have never been hungry.

There is plenty of food in the world – solving world hunger is a matter of proper distribution and proper preservation. Ship it in lightweight rectangular metal containers to keep out moisture, rodents and other vermin.

Start vermin elimination programs such as we have here – Alberta is a rat-free province, as long as you only count the four-legged variety. We still have ‘way too many lawyers.

July 15, 2018 6:52 pm

Well said Allen .
I have been growing maize (corn )in New Zealand since the late 60s coming up 50 years and I still grow it on my farm but it is now all fed to a dairy herd as silage .The biggest threat to successful maize growing are late frosts and early onset of dry weather at tasseling . Hot summers can be a problem on shallow soils as the plants become heat stressed and their leaves curl up in the afternoons ..Maize is now grown successfully in the South Island which was unheard of in the 60s and 70s .
I don’t think that this person has much idea as maize for grain production is in the ground for 8 or 9 months and it would be senseless to plant earlier and risk the crop being wiped out with a frost .Maize loves heat and the cumulative heat units up to and including tasseling makes the difference between a bumper crop or an average crop .

Reply to  Gwan
July 15, 2018 9:56 pm

Yeah, but you’re not a scientist…(sarc/off)

Reply to  Gwan
July 16, 2018 6:22 am

Thank you Gwan – great comments!

July 16, 2018 6:40 am

While we are solving world hunger:

I wrote above:
Ship it in lightweight rectangular metal containers to keep out moisture, rodents and other vermin.

Dimensions of these food containers should be such that they fit and can be stacked into ÍSO containers for transportation by ship, rail or truck and can be unloaded by forklift AND manually.

There! Done!

Providing clean water and sanitation systems is relatively easy. So is ending world hunger, imo. So is reducing malaria, maybe even eliminating it someday.

The big challenge to our society is our many dysfunctional governments. About 90% of the countries in the world have crap governments, typically phony socialist systems that mask some form of criminal dictatorship.

These dumb thugs say they can run a planned economy. The evidence suggests the exact opposite, that they typically cannot run a one-car parade. What to do? Suggestions?

Regards, Allan

Johann Wundersamer
July 17, 2018 10:25 pm

Let the voters vote them.
In short they will see what they got.

Marx never talked about “proletarian revolution”, he never believed in.

People who can barely feed their children have no spare time for revolts.

Johann Wundersamer
July 17, 2018 10:33 pm

Similar Martin Luther.

Martin Luther never intended to bring ” freedom ” to farmers.

And condemned that farmers when they “misunderstood”.

Reply to  Curious George
July 15, 2018 6:50 pm

Why on earth do people feel we need to limit the growth of the human population.
The earth could support 10 times our current population with current technology.

Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2018 7:05 pm

The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life Is Not Fixed. link In any event we’re probably close to peak population.

Buckminster Fuller points out that there are no upper bounds on our standard of living or on the nature of the society that can be supported on the Earth. link

Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2018 9:00 pm

yep Mark A visit to any prison will show you how high density population can go.

Is that what you want?

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 16, 2018 12:02 am

Mark is talking “theoretically”.comment image

Reply to  zazove
July 16, 2018 7:41 am

[Snip. No personal insults please. -mod]

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 16, 2018 7:40 am

I’m guessing that you are a city dweller and have no concept of how uncrowded the real world is.

Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2018 10:32 am

Indeed. Claims of “carrying capacity” of Earth reaching its limits are just nonsense. They are not only unscientific but also unethical. People are not rabbits. We can innovate ourselves out of scarcity and Mother Nature doesn’t just magically give us everything we need. There used to be more famines and poverty in the past, despite there being fewer people. Disgusting how it’s always the poor people in third world countries that need to sacrificed for “greater good”. These people-haters should show example and start from themselves.

Reply to  Fredar
July 16, 2018 3:15 pm

“We can innovate ourselves out of scarcity and Mother Nature doesn’t just magically give us everything we need.”

Stunning, suicidal delusion. Good luck.

Reply to  MarkW
July 16, 2018 3:22 pm


76 billion. Thats what the bacteria still thought after they doubled to 38 billion. Good luck.

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 16, 2018 10:37 am

They are prisons. Aren’t they kinda designed to hold many prisoners in a small area…? If they cared about space they would just let the prisoners into wilderness, but that would defeat the point of a prison. That comparison is silly.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 17, 2018 10:41 pm

Leo, absolutely right.

Prisons are erected with “human dignity, human rights” in mind.

Following governments “forget” to suspend new needs –

when population doubles of course count of inmates double.

So that covernments should react with money – but it’s cheaper to leave that problems to the wardens. And the resulting stress and burnout.

Karl Hawksworth
July 15, 2018 4:16 pm

Hmmmmm – I smell a frozen rat on this one.

Reply to  Karl Hawksworth
July 16, 2018 12:49 pm

Karl : Hmmmmmm !
Or is that Huuuuummmm !
IF it was PROPERLY FROZEN you would NOT be able to smell it !!
Damn that AGW !!

Sweet Old Bob
July 15, 2018 4:16 pm

Did some one enjoy too much of a certain corn byproduct ?
It does “fuel” certain behaviors …..

July 15, 2018 4:36 pm

Good grief, corn loves heat, the more heat, the happier the corn. I was just out in the corn belt a few weeks ago and the corn is thriving. Too bad so much of it is going to be wasted on the manufacture of ethanol. This is really simple math, even innumerate persons such as myself get it. Paying farmers to grow corn to be made into a fuel that uses nearly as much energy to make as the energy it produces is madness. Add the cost of the subsidy to that, the damage it does to auto engines, and the waste of groundwater, and you have a net loss from making ethanol! But those Iowa and Nebraska corn farmers are ever so happy to cash those checks and send their commodity corn off to the elevators!

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Pameladragon
July 15, 2018 5:01 pm

Playing the cards they are dealt ….they need to eat too ….
I don’t like ethanol but I understand why they do this …
get government out of the farm business , totally !!

Ken Mitchell
July 15, 2018 4:37 pm

Given this year’s late planting time (the fields were cold and wet well into April) I’d be more worried about crop failures due to cold and frost. And if we have an early frost this year, the corn crop may be substantially lower than it should be.

Reply to  Ken Mitchell
July 15, 2018 5:41 pm

The corn in Kentucky and Tennessee looks to be about 7 feet tall already

Reply to  Nashville
July 15, 2018 6:03 pm

In Oklahoma it’s as high as an elephant’s eye.

Steve Sollars
Reply to  Ken Mitchell
July 15, 2018 6:50 pm

Crops are way ahead of average. The heat from May on took care of the later planting dates. In South Central Ohio most of the corn and soybean crops look great.

J Mac
Reply to  Ken Mitchell
July 15, 2018 8:32 pm

Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota are for Global Warming. The growing season is short and the weather highly variable.

Field corn and sweet corn thrive in heat and adequate rain. Yields suffer when drought coincides with tasseling or frosts impinge on the corn before the ear’s kernels are fully filled. Ergot molds can be problematic during the drying season, reducing an otherwise good yield.

Richard M
Reply to  Ken Mitchell
July 16, 2018 12:56 pm

I was worried back in April as well. Worry no more. The corn in particular is doing great in most Midwest locations. It has tasseled or soon will. It has that nice deep green color that means it is very healthy.

I suspect this year is going to be another bumper crop in the corn belt thanks mainly to warmer than average temperatures, good rainfall and of course extra CO2.

Reply to  Ken Mitchell
July 16, 2018 1:30 pm

Yes, Spring was cold till late in the season and ground temperatures were too cold to plant corn.

But, after the warmth began, the sun warmed the ground quickly and stayed warm. Spring’s earl heavy rains left plenty pf moisture for corn planting season.

“Successful Farming”, a charming publication email several times a week. Usually, they whine about portending harvest disasters, until the harvest season is finished; and surprise surprise, harvests are at or near maximum levels.


By Tony Dreibus 6/20/2018″

“The USDA last week said that 78% of the corn crop and 73% of soybeans were in good or excellent condition. That’s up from 67% for both crops a year earlier, the USDA said in a report on Monday.

About 90% of soybeans and 98% of corn have emerged from the ground, according to the USDA. About 89% of sorghum had been planted with about 18% headed as of Sunday. Almost all of the U.S. spring wheat crop has emerged and is now growing, and the USDA said 78% was in good or excellent condition, up from only 41% during the same week in 2017.”

Up-to-the minute information can be obtained straight from the USDA

Crop Progress
ISSN: 1948-3007
Released July 16, 2018, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service 
(NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of 
Agriculture (USDA).

Corn Silking - Selected States
[These 18 States planted 92% of the 2017 corn acreage]
                 :            Week ending            :           
      State      : July 15,  :  July 8,  : July 15,  : 2013-2017 
                 :   2017    :   2018    :   2018    :  Average  
                 :                    percent                    
Colorado ........:     8           4          17          13     
Illinois ........:    59          76          93          57     
Indiana .........:    36          49          74          39     
Iowa ............:    33          35          68          32     
Kansas ..........:    52          48          64          53     
Kentucky ........:    74          62          77          63     
Michigan ........:    13           5          26          15     
Minnesota .......:    18           8          45          19     
Missouri ........:    77          76          91          68     
Nebraska ........:    42          31          65          38     
North Carolina ..:    92          82          90          92     
North Dakota ....:    10           6          33          11     
Ohio ............:    31          30          63          27     
Pennsylvania ....:    21          13          28          27     
South Dakota ....:    10          10          48          17     
Tennessee .......:    89          83          91          83     
Texas ...........:    69          68          76          75     
Wisconsin .......:     4           6          30          11     
18 States .......:    37          37          63          37     

Corn Condition - Selected States: Week Ending July 15, 2018
[These 18 States planted 92% of the 2017 corn acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent 
                :                          percent                          
Colorado .......:     4           6          20          62           8     
Illinois .......:     2           4          14          51          29     
Indiana ........:     2           6          20          52          20     
Iowa ...........:     2           4          16          54          24     
Kansas .........:     6          14          32          42           6     
Kentucky .......:     -           2          14          69          15     
Michigan .......:     5          15          25          47           8     
Minnesota ......:     2           5          16          52          25     
Missouri .......:     8          17          42          29           4     
Nebraska .......:     1           2          11          61          25     
North Carolina .:     7          20          37          32           4     
North Dakota ...:     -           1          11          68          20     
Ohio ...........:     1           3          15          56          25     
Pennsylvania ...:     1           8          25          54          12     
South Dakota ...:     3           4          24          52          17     
Tennessee ......:     -           2          15          51          32     
Texas ..........:    11          21          35          33           -     
Wisconsin ......:     1           4          13          48          34     
18 States ......:     3           6          19          51          21     
Previous week ..:     2           5          18          54          21     
Previous year ..:     3           8          25          51          13

Pamela nailed the basics. Which anyone who has spent time in the corn belt of America can testify.

July 15, 2018 4:37 pm

how far is south Florida from where she’s thinking??

South Florida has over 30,000 acres of sweet corn…it’s $100 million a year industry

Reply to  Latitude
July 15, 2018 7:17 pm

Higher temps would be welcome for Britain. They’d be able to grow grapes again like they did 1000 years ago. Everything tends to grow better in higher temps, including my lawn. If not, the Equatorial regions would be barren.

Greenies seem to love winter for everyone else to suffer in.

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
July 15, 2018 7:28 pm

Here in Nashville we are on about a 4 day cycle on cutting the lawn.
Lots of heat and rain this year.

Kevin Lohse
Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
July 15, 2018 7:33 pm

It’s happening now. The chalk downs in Kent and other parts of southern England have a growing number of vineyards producing acceptable wine, mainly white. Growers have imported a rootstock from Mongolia which is adapted to the short growing season and cold winters in that area and are using it to produce vines which can take the English climate. I’ve got one in my garden as a curiosity. I get a few bunches of white grapes each year, but the birds tend to beat me to them.

Kevin Lohse
Reply to  Kevin Lohse
July 15, 2018 7:35 pm
Reply to  Latitude
July 16, 2018 10:39 am

Lots of corn grown just north of you, as well. Corn is a grass, heck, if the stories are correct, it is a tropical/subtropical grass. Some years, we can get two crops of corn harvested, though that’s tough on the soil.

Corn loves growing here. It rarely gets above 95F during the day and our three seasons are wet, summer and dry. The dry season lasts about 30 to 45 days, unless we get hit with several tropical systems. Bad corn years here are mostly from too much rain, not too little. Average rainfall locally is about 55 inches a year, mostly from November through June.

July 15, 2018 5:00 pm

It’s time to start growing corn in commercial greenhouses, that can be heated and or cooled using the waste heat from power plants. Year round corn production.

Reply to  Sid Abma
July 15, 2018 6:52 pm

Try working out the economics of the move. Do you have any idea how expensive it will be to build a few hundred thousand acres of green houses?

Reply to  MarkW
July 15, 2018 9:27 pm

Maybe we can get Mexico to pay for that plus throw in 5 or 10 million million cheap workers for the labor force.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  MarkW
July 17, 2018 10:49 pm

would’nt the greens subsidize them.

Reply to  Sid Abma
July 15, 2018 10:01 pm

Sid, you REALLY need to drive through Nebraska. Or maybe READ about American corn production. *slaps forehead*

Richard M
Reply to  Sid Abma
July 16, 2018 1:01 pm

If farmers could afford spending extra money on their fields all they would do is add irrigation. With the price of corn these days they can barely get by as it is.

Covering millions of acres with some kind of greenhouse is actually quite hilarious. If you only knew ….

July 15, 2018 5:00 pm

The Chaco culture of the SW Colorado Mesa Verde Anasazi grew maize on the plateau for 470+ years during the MWP.
Then real climate change happened.
Drought and cold as the MWP ended as the Wolf and Sporer minimums came and ended the good times.

Still can’t grow maize on Mesa Verde plateau as the average frost free days are still just above maize growing requirements.

And this poor researcher is worried about too warm after the LIA, the coldest 400 years of the last 10,000.

July 15, 2018 5:03 pm

Maybe they’ll stop contaminating our gasoline with that ethanol crap.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
July 15, 2018 5:10 pm

“Since 1990, 56% of the increase in world corn production has been achieved through higher yields, and the remaining 44% has come from increased acres in corn production.” — higher yields are being achieved through seed and chemical input technologies. This caused severe soil and water pollution. Seed technology reached a plateau. GMOs use the same seed with some fictitious triat that is short lived. Now Maize is grown all over the world under different temperature regimes. To meet this scientists developed seed varieties. In tropical countries, the limiting factor is moisture and in extra-tropics is the growing period — late withdrawal of winter and early onset of winter bring down the growing season and thus effect the yield.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
July 15, 2018 7:35 pm

GMOs use the same seed with some fictitious triat (sic) that is short lived.

Humans and Nature have been genetically modifying plants since forever. people professing that “GMO” is somehow unhealthy are uninformed slaves to the health and fitness industry.

To meet this scientists developed seed varieties.

Exactly. There was a need to grow food in varying climates and this was the easiest answer. How people think that limited growing seasons due to cold weather are productive is beyond me. But when that happens, they blame Climate Change™©® as well. While there’s money flowing into this scam, there will never be truth.

Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
July 16, 2018 2:40 pm

Accurately stated, ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N!

Starting thousands of years ago, mankind noticed and propagated mutations, cross bred for desired traits, sorted harvests for vigor, adaptability, increased harvest, terrain tolerances, etc. etc.

Latitude mentions Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde cliff dwellers, who raised corn on the mesa tops at 6,000-8000 feet.
These ancient farmers obtained elsewhere, corn that tolerated summer’s dry conditions well, but more remarkably, this variety of corn grew an unusually long tap root. A tap root that reached moisture levels not obtainable at the surface.

All of man’s food crops, beneficial or even just interesting mutations have been identified and propagated.
e.g. Red Delicious apples are a well known variety. Golden delicious apples are a sport; i.e. a mutation that was observed, isolated and specifically propagated.

e.g. 2; every time one considers a tomato, they should wonder how mankind bred and identified a food crop from a nightshade family plant that was normally poisonous. Then again, that plant family, Solanaceae, supplies other food crops bred from dangerous plants.

Reply to  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
July 16, 2018 2:00 pm

Agreed Dr. Reddy!

That article compresses an amazing amount of achievement into that overly simplistic 56% of the increase is through higher yields.

These biased armchair researchers make it sound like the farmer can just tell corn to grow more corn, to achieve higher yields; which trivializes corn breeding success, improved genetics, improved planting, improved harvesting and reduced corn crop damages caused by diseases, blights, insects, etc.

Their abstract reads like another confirmation bias self satisfaction model, with negative biases part of the program

Which reminds me, I bought some fresh corn. I need to go cook it for dinner.

Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 5:39 pm

“There is no chance a 4C warming would cause a net loss of global corn production.”

I love the way skeptics make up their own settled science with zero evidence, no experiments. Nothing except bald assertion.

Its a good idea, as the study suggests, to make [ investments in breeding for heat tolerance]

Why? bceause in a warmer world ( whether naturally occuring or not ) having a stable food supply is a good thing.

It is also good to note that growing regions have shifted. That would mean plants are smart enough to know that it is warming. Some skeptics think that it has not warmed, that the records are hoaxed,
that there is no warming trend, that global average do not exist. All manner of nonsense that plants
know is hogwash.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 5:56 pm

[ investments in breeding for heat tolerance]

…we could just send them some seed from south Florida (FIU makes a lot of our seed)

Or someone in the know could just order GreenSeeds catalog and buy seed from them….
GreenSeed sells crop seed designed for the tropics..

Reply to  Latitude
July 15, 2018 7:16 pm

The same people that are pushing the CAGW scenario are also pushing to get rid of GMO grains. GMO is quickly becoming as evil as writing “product will cause cancer and death if consumed” on the packaging. Seems these CAGW types really are about killing off a large portion of the population. Promoting the lack of abundant, reliable and affordable energy. Promoting the lack of scientifically engineered food crops. Promoting the demolition of dams. Depriving people of energy when they need it the most (California’s Flex Your Energy program). Slowly implementing that everything be “organically” grown (dramatically driving up food costs) and soon requiring a massive tax on animal meat products to subsidize cricket and insect farming for our mandated protein source. Agenda 21 is slowly but surely being implemented.

Joe - the constutioalist
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 6:34 pm

I love the way purverours of fake science can so manipulate the gullible masses. 170+ years of increasing crop yields during an ever increasing warming world – but climate change is going to reverse that trend.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 6:54 pm

Notice how once again steven pretends that no arguments were made in support of the snippet he quoted from the article.

Then again, he knows that he can’t refute the arguments, so ignoring them is the best he can do.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 6:56 pm

Technically you are right Steve regarding the “no” chance. However, if it is true that the prime corn growing regions will only shift by 200 miles or so, then it is LIKELY that there would be no net loss of global corn production if people attempt to adjust accordingly (also likely). So far the increase of 1.5-2C in temperature since the end of the LIA and the resultant increase in CO2 has clearly been beneficial for corn (as well as other) crop production. In addition, a further 4C warming is highly unlikely simply based on increase in CO2… but IF it did… well there sure were a lot of plants on the planet the last time it was that warm. So, a scare story acting like a warming world is automatically catastrophic for corn production is simply… laughable.
Thus a quote from the article
“So, it really does matter if we have two or four degrees of warming,” implies that earth is already committed to a minimum of 2C more warming due to our CO2 emissions and that we must stop emitting CO2 if we are to avoid 4C warming over the course of this century. This implication is nothing but fear mongering as the empirically derived ECS value (versus GCM value) has been steadily dropping down to the 1.0C range for doubling. Thus, it looks like empirically, the warming and increased CO2 are going to be net beneficial to humans, not detrimental… with a further increase by 2100 by a mere 1C or less. Guess you prefer LIA temperatures.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 7:01 pm

.Bring on the evidence that the world is going to warm by 4C.
There is none .
The summary of policy makers of the IPCC ignored the evidence that there is no discernible human signal and that the small amount of warming that has happened in the last 40 years is natural climate variability .

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 15, 2018 7:34 pm

Hello Steven.
Has it occurred to you that the increased northern or southern corn planting has nothing to do with climate change but is simply the utilization of unused acreage drive by economics, supply and demand.
This is something you should be more concerned with.

There have been numerous crop failures across the globe due to cold, frosts, and hail storms.
Grapes have been badly hit the last three years all across Europe.
It is as if your train has gone off it’s tracks and you are gently rocking back and forth in your seat pretending the train is still moving


Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 16, 2018 3:23 am

Steven, 4°C of warming would, according to Hansen 1988, result in “a poleward shift of isotherms” by 400 to 600 km (250 to 370 miles) — i.e., maybe 20% of the prime growing range for corn in the United States:
comment image

(Note: from eyeballing gardening/hardiness zone maps, Hansen’s estimate seems a bit high, but never mind that.)

But, really, nobody sane really thinks we could get that much additional warming from anthropogenic CO2.

In the first place, when the IPCC talks about “degrees C of warming” they don’t really mean “degrees C of warming” compared to current temperatures (which is what you have to talk about, if the topic is effects of changes in temperature on crops). They really mean “degrees C warmer than 1750.”

So, the obvious question is: how much has the world warmed since 1750 (the depths of the Little Ice Age)? The answer is that nobody knows, but it’s probably somewhere between 0.9 and 1.3 °C.

So, to translate from Orwellian NewIPCC-speak to English, you need to subtract 0.9 to 1.3 °C from whatever “warming” number they’re talking about.

So +4°C would really be maybe +3°C, compared to current climate. So lop 25% off that isotherm shift.

Over the last forty years or so, in spite of a dramatic (closely exponential) increase in CO2 emissions, the forcing increase from CO2 has been just barely more than linear (note the nearly straight line here):
comment image

That’s because:

1. CO2 increases have a logarithmically diminishing warming effect; and,

2. powerful negative feedbacks reduce the rate at which CO2 levels increase, making it more and more difficult to raise CO2 levels.

Fossil fuel resource constraints must eventually limit the ability of mankind to continue exponentially increasing CO2 emissions, so CO2’s annual temperature forcing increase will surely fall behind the ≈linear trend of the last four decades. Thus, it makes sense to consider the “current” temperature trend to be an upper bound for the rest of the 21st century.

Over the last forty years, we’ve seen perhaps 0.5 °C of warming. So an upper bound for the next eighty years (i.e., by 2100) would be perhaps another 1°C of warming.

That’s a reasonable time horizon, because if mankind is still depending on fossil fuels for most energy needs by 2100, the human race will have much bigger problems than global warming!

For another way of looking at it, consider that, although we’ve seen only about a 45% increase in CO2 level, because of CO2’s logarithmically diminishing warming effect, that’s 54% of the forcing of a “doubling” of CO2 (plus some warming from increases in other GHGs). By the end of the century the Earth might, plausibly, see the other half of a doubling. If the first half of a doubling gave us 1°C, the 2nd half might plausibly give us another 1°C of warming — basically the same number.

So lop another 2/3 off that isotherm shift.

Now, if a portion of the warming seen since the LIA was actually natural (as I suspect), or “Mann-made” (incorrect), or if other anthropogenic forcings (like CFCs and aerosol pollution abatement) do not continue to increase as rapidly as they have since the 1970s, then those “1°C” estimates are obviously too high.

Also, note that by talking about just the last forty years we’ve conveniently started with 1978, which was the end of a 30-40 year cooling period. If we’d started with an earlier date, the apparent effect on temperature of rising GHG levels would have seemed smaller.

So now we’re talking about an isotherm shift of, at most, just 100 to 150 km (60 to 95 miles), by 2100, equivalent to only about 5% of the prime growing range for corn in the United States.

It’s hard to imagine that such a small change could have much effect on productivity.

July 15, 2018 5:48 pm

“Elon Musk calls diver who helped save Thailand boys a ‘pedo’ for slamming his rescue idea”

The left wing nutters are completely losing their minds…

Reply to  Marcus
July 15, 2018 6:02 pm

Elon has major butt hurt because his sub was too long, too big, couldn’t bend and twist through the narrow openings and turns…and was a death trap
…a really stupid idea
He seems to be pissed that everyone got out without his help

…but what the hey…he’s off to China now that he’s got his American $billions

Joe - the non climate scientist
July 15, 2018 6:21 pm

Paul erlich – repeat

But according to skeptical science – its peer reviewed – So its solid science – don’t question it without a peer reviewed study

Mike M
July 15, 2018 6:29 pm

And just think, it would have been a two-fer if polar bears ate corn.

July 15, 2018 6:44 pm

A plant that comes from Central America isn’t adapted to warm temperatures?
What the heck are these guys smoking.

July 15, 2018 6:48 pm

“There is no chance a 4C warming would cause a net loss of global corn production.”

There is also no chance of a 4C warming.

July 15, 2018 7:06 pm

We don’t and can’t grow Corn in the dryland cropping region where I live in SE Australia .
But we have a large government run Agricultural Research Institute in our small city.

The crop researcheres including a couple of americans on exchange have commented over the years on how Corn with adequate water and sunshine and very fast corn growth favouring temperatures used to just come to a dead stop growth wise in the mid afternoon on hot, still, windless days.

Eventually it was discovered that the very rapid corn growth just stopped on those calm, hot days because the corn had literally run out of enough CO2 / Carbon Dioxide immediately above its canopy to keep the corn growth going .
The fast growing corn had literally sucked the available CO2 out of the layer of air immediately above its growth canopy.

When there was some wind and / or a good breeze blowing it ensured that the layers of air immediately above the corn’s canopy was mixed enough to bring in sufficient amounts of CO2 to enable the corn to continue its rapid growth.

Mike M.
Reply to  ROM
July 16, 2018 11:07 am

Modify wind turbines to double as giant fans when the wind doesn’t blow.

July 15, 2018 7:24 pm

Really!?!? It ain’t happenin’ here in western PA. Corn is looking excellent, been cutting early wheat, too. Not mention hay, timothy, clover and straw. Bring on the Globall Warmining, it is a total plus for human beings!

July 15, 2018 7:25 pm

Wasn’t there a study published late last year or early this year by Michigan State University researchers that concluded corn production would thrive in the U.S. corn belt in a warming world.

Bob G.
July 15, 2018 7:46 pm

I just heard on a Fargo, ND news station that this summer is unusual that it is warmer than average but also wetter than average. A typical hot year would be a dryer year. The result of this warmer year in the Fargo area is that the crops are 2 weeks ahead of schedule in their growth. I’m no expert but a few degrees warmer seems good for food production. A few degrees cooler could cause an early morning frost and crop failure. Maybe the global warming scare mongers should have a talk with a a farmer and learn something.

July 15, 2018 8:11 pm

“Whenever I see a study like this, I just think – why?”

Oh, c’mon… everyone here knows why, to keep crying “Wolf!” until someone responds.

Corn in my area (central Illinois) is reaching for the sky, loving “global warming.”

Steve Oregon
July 15, 2018 8:24 pm

Yabut, if corn crops fail there will be a shortage of corn.
Science by nitwits.

July 15, 2018 9:02 pm
Rud Istvan
July 15, 2018 9:41 pm

Two factual comments.
1. My very first guest post here in 2011 eviscerated this canard. Has always been based on provably false biological analysis. Whatnwas true then , is still true now.
2. Maize is amazingly adaptable, given a few years. See the illustrated CYMITT Africa (Kenya drought [MAM rains] resistant work as an example in ebook The Arts of Truth.

July 16, 2018 12:37 am

I was under the impression that Maize is a very resourceful species , genetically , and capable of considerable modification in response to environmental factors . Was it not the plant on which the brilliant Barbara McClintock earned her (very real) Nobel Prize for the discovery of gene transposition.
From what I have read of her work (many years ago in a magazine) part of her genius seems to have come from a humility to observe , reflect and deduce rather than prejudge a problem.
I wonder what she would have made of such studies as reported here.

July 16, 2018 12:51 am

How many times do alarmists* keep falsely ringing the alarm?

*alarmists (definition)
someone who is considered to be exaggerating a danger and so causing needless worry or panic.
scaremonger, fearmonger, doomster, doomsayer, Cassandra, Chicken Little”

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  hunter
July 16, 2018 2:52 am

Don’t think Cassandre should be included in that list. Cassandra was cursed to utter prophecies which were true but which no one believed.
The opposite of the 97% of Climate Scientists who utter prophecies which are untrue but believed by a swathe of the establishment.

July 16, 2018 1:19 am

{deleted botched comment, sorry! -DAB}

Reply to  Dave Burton
July 16, 2018 5:20 am

{deleted stupid comment, sorry! -DAB}

July 16, 2018 1:27 am

With the exception of perennials that are very frost-sensitive, almost all important crops are planted over a very wide range of climate zones. The small temperature shifts possible from anthropogenic climate change amount to a fraction of a single climate/planting/hardiness zone. Where I live (NC), 2°F of warming would mean springtime would arrive about a week earlier.

Who really thinks farmers are incapable of figuring out when they need to plant their crops? Farmers are not like climate alarmists. Most of them are not idiots.

In general, the effect of an increase or decrease in temperature on agriculture and natural ecosystems can be estimated by examination of a growing / hardiness zone chart, like this one for the United States:
comment image

If you compare the scale-of-miles to the zone sizes you can see that a 1°F change in temperature is equivalent to a shift in latitude of about 30-40 miles — barely noticeable.

From the rule-of-thumb in Hansen 1988 (“A warming of 0.5°C… implies typically a poleward shift of isotherms by 50 to 75 km…”) we get 34.5–51.8 miles per 1°F change in temperature, which seems a bit high.

So let’s call it 30-50 miles. Now compare that 30-50 mile isotherm shift to the range of climate zones where most crops are grown…

E.g., potatoes:
comment image

or wheat:
comment image

or corn:
comment image

Claims that a degree or two of warming will devastate agriculture do not pass the laugh test.

The only really strong trend related to rising CO2 levels is agricultural productivity. It has nearly tripled since the 1960s, in part because of CO2 fertilization.

The dramatic benefits to agriculture of higher CO2 levels have been known to science for a century. Look at this illustration of how potatoes benefit, from a 1920 Scientific American article about the research of Dr. Friedrich Riedel:
comment image

Here’s a similar but longer 1920 Saturday Evening Post article, about how scientists in Germany were using CO2 from blast furnace exhaust to “fertilize” their crops; the wry title is a reference to Germany’s recent use of poison gas in The Great War:

Here’s the English-language abstract of a 1921 German Language book, on the same topic (it’s the 2nd-to-last item on p.618):
Here’s the book:

Here’s an article about some people in Holland who are doing the same thing today:

The best scientific evidence indicates that manmade climate change is modest and benign, and higher CO2 levels are very beneficial for both agriculture and natural ecosystems. In other words, the “social cost of carbon” is negative.

Patrick MJD
July 16, 2018 1:28 am

How far we have come in crop cultivation and production, and there are some who want to revert to food poverty. Brilliant!

July 16, 2018 3:23 am

On a recent road trip through Canada and the US the corn was definitely higher the further you moved south.

The difference was quite dramatic. Corn likes it hot. Which would explain why corn is a big part of Aztec culture and nowhere to be found in Inuit culture.

You can grow corn in the US and Central America. But in Canada corn only grows along a narrow band on the US border. There are millions of square miles of Canada that are too cold to grow corn. Nowhere is it too hot. Too dry in places. But not too hot.

Reply to  ferd berple
July 16, 2018 5:42 am

Farther south, farmers plant earlier.

The “research” which shows that higher temperatures harm crops typically assume that farmers are idiots, and don’t know when to plant their crops.

It’s akin to psychological projection. It’s not the farmers who are the idiots.

July 16, 2018 3:35 am

seeing as the high temp resilient corn monmongrels grabbed to use and fiddle round with- was an Australian dryland farmers corn to begin adapted by growing in the area continuously heritage seed! and our corn here wont even beging to get its growth stared till the nights are 20ish and the days 33cand over for decent growth.
I grew some of that stained glass maize last yr:-) very pretty decor not eating. but it did have me wondering if it would head up in time to allow for ripening.
the odd pumpkin will grow here but cucumber watermelon rockmelons are pretty iffy
and we have weeks of 35c but our soil temps are slower to be acceptable to the seeeds.

July 16, 2018 7:11 am

This prediction should be of great concern for corn farmers since the opposite is likely the case with glut and plunging prices over time.

Andy Pattullo
July 16, 2018 8:14 am

Using models which are not validated and consistently make wrong predictions to project future temperatures and then using similarly other invalidated models to predict future crops yields in the imagined future. The sicence gods are not pleased.

Go Home
July 16, 2018 8:46 am

Funny when I drive around the phoenix metropolitan area, i see very healthy corn fields a plenty. Not like in Iowa where I am originally from, but there is still corn here. And the summers are a bit warmer here than from what I remember living in Iowa. So there must be something else at play than just temperature.

July 16, 2018 10:02 am

I’ve never seen corn not grow where it’s warm. I have seen it not grow when it gets cooler. If there is a failure in maize production, it won’t be from a warmer world.

Reply to  rishrac
July 16, 2018 11:14 am

Yeah, is heat really the issue, or is the issue irrigation ?

I planted a tiny patch of corn for the first time in my vegetable garden this year. It was hard to get beginning seedlings past the cut worms, but once I won that battle (via three re-plantings and appropriate counter-measures), my little patch is now eight feet tall with young corn developing.

One thing I found out is that this little patch takes lots of water, especially during a string of 90+ degree F days without rain. The ground gets bone dry. I imagine that a commercial field would require immense quantities of irrigation, and so I could see this as a problem on that scale of production.

Really hot days cause greater evaporation, which necessitates lots more water . Who knew? [/sarc]

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
July 17, 2018 8:17 pm

@ Robert,
you are confusing 2 different issues.
It takes water for corn to grow. That’s a given. Years ago the greens wanted to switch out of corn because of the amount of water it takes to grow corn. That issue faded… Politics of water. All the water in the US has an owner. Water rights determines where you can build. Whether you can water your corn. ( or tomatoes, peppers, squash, or what have you) I know first hand the difference in water rights can make on people’s lives. You probably spent more for water than the corn is worth, you have residential rates. It’s like growing flowers, they are pretty and I like them. Cost is not so much an issue.

Corn doesn’t grow when it is chilly no matter how much water you put on it. Warmer weather increases the yield… provided it rains.

Too many issues for me to speculate as to what you were doing growing your corn. I don’t plant corn unless I have sufficient amount of land. I like an acre at least for the corn, different maturity dates and different plant times.
Being a farmer is/was/will be not/never be easy. That’s why farms are going corporate.

Bill Murphy
July 16, 2018 11:07 am

As noted by others, since corn is grown from Central America to Canada, a few degrees warmer is NOT going to impact anything. A few degrees COLDER, now that would be a problem. I suggest that the authors of this study (and a few others like Mosher) get out of their air conditioned offices and manicured university environments and take a look at the real world. Maybe look up the concept of “Degree Days” and try to understand why that number is published for every agricultural region in the US and most others world wide. Even a 4C rise won’t hurt most of the corn belt, but a 4C cooling certainly would.

Reply to  Bill Murphy
July 18, 2018 5:15 pm

You are absolutely right Bill .I grow ( maize) corn in the North Island of New Zealand at an altitude of 300 feet with little problems from frost but around 1980 there was a widespread frost that damaged large areas on our New Years day with major losses on low lying land When we grew it on an out farm at 600 feet not far away we had it frosted before harvest 4 years out of 12 in April before harvest but it was still OK for silage.
Accumulated heat units is what grows great crops of maize .

July 16, 2018 1:48 pm

Where corn don’t grow:

Scott Manhart
July 16, 2018 2:04 pm

Don’t you love it when people who have no grasp of the genetic history of Miaze from teosinte to the modern versions declare its eminent failure. For the last 50K years it has been one of the most successful plants on the planet due to its symbiosis with the 3rd chimpanzee. It has thrived though ice ages and multi century droughts none the worse for wear. Even if we were to get 2-4 degrees warming it would be a small bump in the road.

July 16, 2018 2:38 pm

Eric ==> Thanks for the graph and quote at the end of the essay — that’s the real scoop — despite whatever warming (if any) corn-growing regions have seen over the last 30 years, corn production world-wide has continued to increase both through increased yields and increased acreage.
The study is what Dr. Judith Curry refers to as “climate science taxonomy” — research that uses up valuable funds and researcher time without even standing a chance of adding to our store of knowledge.

July 16, 2018 2:40 pm

FYI — last year the United States grew ~ 371 million metric tons of corn.

July 16, 2018 3:45 pm

TO: Eric Worrall
FROM: Eric Koperek, Plant Breeder & Farmer
SUBJECT: Crop Yields and Global Warming
DATE: PM 5:58 Monday 16 July 2018

(1) Most folks do not know how sensitive food crops are to small environmental changes. Slight differences in global temperature have big impacts on crop yields. For example, during the Little Ice Age (1350 through 1850 approximately) global temperatures dropped about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. This was enough to knock 1 to 2 months off the average growing season. The result was mass starvation. Many countries lost 20% to 30% of their population.

(2) Rising global temperatures cause just as much havoc. 1 degree Fahrenheit rise in air temperature is the same as losing 4 inches of rainfall. 4-acre inches of water can mean the difference between harvesting a crop or going bust for the year.

(3) Planting farther north will not resolve the heat issue. Please remember that climate becomes drier the closer you get to the Poles. The Arctic and Antarctic are ice deserts. Shifting the “Corn Belt” 200 or 300 miles north puts you square in the middle of a semi-arid belt where drought is normal. Translation: 25 to 30 bushels of corn per acre is a “bumper crop” in dry land climates.

(4) Most grain crops stop growing at about 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants are too busy sucking water and trying to stay alive. Translation: Yields go down as temperatures go up. Global warming will NOT put more food on the table.

(5) Small grains (wheat, oats, barley, rye, and other cereals) are especially sensitive to air temperature when pollinating. For example, a few days of 90 degree Fahrenheit temperatures kills wheat pollen. No pollination means no crop.

(6) Climate change (up or down) makes weather patterns unpredictable. Rain falls at the wrong time. Growing seasons become unreliable. Farmers do not know when to plant or harvest. Agriculture is dependent on climate stability. A week or two of unseasonably dry or wet weather is sufficient to destroy a crop. Most of the world’s farmers live on the edge of calamity; it does not take much to push them over the cliff. A few degrees of heat or a few inches of rain is just enough to cause region-wide famine.

(7) Be very careful when you make pronouncements about the effects of climate change. Nature is notoriously unpredictable.


end comment.

D Cage
July 16, 2018 9:59 pm

Maize over here is doing better than I have ever seen it in the first hot summer for two decades.

July 17, 2018 10:26 am

Well… my heretic understanding is that at low ppm of CO2 we were on the brink of agricultural collapse due to lack of CO2 (the agricultural yield by weight is proportional to ppm of CO2 up to 400 ppm and then it levels off.. at 800 ppm it increases ~50%).

It seems that if the ‘mainstream’ thought is right and CO2 concentration continue to increase, then we will have an agricultural boon, perhaps the middle east will become the Fertile Crescent again and north Africa and Libia will become the grainary of Europe like it did in Roman times…

If they are off in their predictions and we continue to reduce CO2 emissions we could cause our own famine and agricultural collapse.

July 17, 2018 10:54 am

“There is an optimum temperature at which they grow and beyond that their yields decline”

According to crop scientists, that optimum temperature is 92F (and yields DON’T decline after that, at least
not immediately; it would have to get well into the triple digits for any negative effects on yield to be seen). That’s the AVERAGE temperature for the day. So even if the max temp got to 102, if the min temp was 82, that’s still an average of 92. Even if global warming continues (resumes?), even if the global average temperature goes up 10 degrees F, there will be very few days when the average temperature, anywhere in the US Corn Belt, exceeds 92F. The July average high and low in Springfield, Illinois, on the southern edge of the Corn Belt, are 86 and 66, for an average of 76. That could go up 16F (about 9C) and still not exceed the optimum temperature for crowing corn. And that’s in the WARMEST part of the Corn Belt. I don’t believe anyone is talking about temperatures going up 9 degrees Celsius, so we don’t have anything to worry about.

Now, if higher temperatures are accompanied by lack of moisture, that can be a problem. But there’s no reason to believe that is any more likely to happen than it is now. In fact, precipitation will INCREASE as temperatures increase. Moreover, the higher levels of carbon dioxide will make crops more drought-tolerant. So again, nothing to worry about.

But why am I worrying about refuting these ridiculous speculations about negative consequences of global warming on crops? There are obvious POSITIVE consequences for crops, ignored by the alarmists, that will beat, by orders of magnitude, even the worst negative consequences imaginable. So let’s look on the bright side:

1. As illustrated above, even the worst imagined global warming will not reach daily average temperatures above 92F in the Corn Belt. Not only does that mean we don’t have to worry about negative effects of higher temperatures (which actually don’t set in until well above 92F), but every additional degree of warmth, up to 92, will IMPROVE corn yields.

2. The central tenant of global warming alarmism is that it’s caused by increased carbon dioxide. But carbon dioxide acts as a FERTILIZER for plants, including crops. So that too will increase yields.

3. Vast areas of Canada and Siberia, which are now too cold to crow crops, will become warm enough with a few degrees of global warming. So in addition to the increased yields in established corn-growing areas, we will have additional acreage in places where corn has never been successfully grown. So that will increase total production.

4. I’ve never actually sat down and done the math on this, but there’s a possibility that some corn-growing areas will be able to harvest TWO CROPS of corn from the same field in the same calendar year, if temperatures rise enough. The length of the “growing season” for corn is strictly a function of how much heat the crop accumulates over time. If you plant it early enough (and you will be able to as winter and spring temperatures increase), and if you get enough heat early in the year (and you’ll be getting more as spring and summer temperatures increase), you could conceivably harvest in June, then immediately turn around and plant another crop. That second crop would get a tremendous growth spurt in July (the hottest month of the year), and be ready to harvest by November. Of course, you would need to add more fertilizer, since the first crop would have pretty much depleted what was there.

(It’s not quite the same thing, but for decades, rice farmers in Texas and southern Louisiana have been getting two cuttings from their crop. It gets warm enough down there (even before global warming started) that the rice is harvested in July, and if you just cut the head off (as opposed to cutting the whole plant down), the head will regrow and put on more grain, that is then harvested in September/October. Imagine if that could be done in Arkansas, which produces half of the US rice crop. Temperatures would only have to go up 3-4 degrees F to make that a reality.)

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