Jul 10, 2017 - Energy & Environment

Farmers feel the effect of warming Arctic

Associated Press

Warmer weather in the Arctic due to climate change is making winters in the U.S. longer and affecting farms, according to a new study.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, changing the circulation of cooler air to the planet's middle latitudes. The effect is harsher winters and cooler spring seasons that, in the years studied, were associated with a 1 to 4% decline in agricultural yield on average in the growing seasons following warm Arctic years. Certain areas, such as Texas, saw a much steeper decline of 20% due to the colder temperatures and drier weather.

Why it matters: The Arctic is only getting warmer, and American farmers may have to adjust harvesting schedules to handle the weather changes. Fewer plants also mean that less carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere, which can accelerate the effects of climate change even more.

Go deeper