Farming will be different in the future due to global warming?food will be grown in different places and in different ways. And the foods we eat may not be as good for us as they once were.
When carbon dioxide levels rise in the air, this causes a decrease in the nutritional value of many crops. Researcher Max Taub tested this by increasing levels of CO2 gas in the atmosphere where basic crops like barley, rice, wheat, soybeans and potatoes were planted, and found that their protein decreased between 10 and 14%. Soybeans were the least affected, with a decrease in protein of less than 2%.
As carbon dioxide levels rise in the atmosphere, plants accumulate more carbon, which reduces the amounts of other elements they contain. This includes nitrogen, which is where plant protein comes from. One way to counteract this is to use nitrogen fertilizers, but these cause major problems of their own. For instance, the Mississippi River is filled with carbon dioxide?the same greenhouse gas produced by auto emissions. But in this case, it's due to farming practices on its banks.
In LiveScience.com, Andrea Thompson reports that researchers have found that the main culprit is "liming (adding calcium to the soil), changes in drainage and crop rotation." Thompson quotes water expert Peter Raymond as saying, "Agricultural practices have significantly changed the hydrology and chemistry of the Mississippi."
All this CO2 may not escape into the atmosphere?but it might, and it will certainly have adverse effects on marine life. When those Mississippi waters eventually run into the Gulf of Mexico, the chemical changes will cause the ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide and become more acidic, effecting marine life (one of the dangers of drinking cola is that the CO2 dissolved in the water to make it fizzy also makes it acidic).
In LiveScience.com, Andrea Thompson quotes Taub as saying, "This is just one more example of the impact global changes could have on us."
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Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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