Asia Climate Forum

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Weathering the storm: Exploring flooding in agriculture

Posted 5th April 2023

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Christine Sprunger, the Assistant Professor of Soil Health at Michigan State University, aims to understand how the flooding in agriculture has increased with climate change and how farmers can better adapt

Climate change is altering precipitation patterns across the globe. In the upper Midwestern part of the United States, abnormal precipitation events are projected to increase. In recent years, the Midwest has experienced a 37% increase in ‘very heavy precipitation’ events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events) according to Karl et al., 2009. Moreover, climate change is shifting when and how these heavy rainfall events are occurring, leading to worse effects of flooding in agriculture.

For instance, more intense rainfall events are occurring during the early part of the summer, leading to flooded conditions that can often delay the planting of major row crops. For example, in 2019 historic flooding in agriculture events delayed or prevented planting all-together across the Midwest. This climatic disruption can lead to substantial crop yield losses and could potentially negatively influence soil health.

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