In recent years, scientists have been sounding the alarm about the impact of climate change on our planet. By 2050, the global demand for food is projected to increase by a staggering 110%. However, this increase in demand comes at a time when about 40% of croplands and pastures are under threat due to various factors such as rising average temperatures, high concentrations of greenhouse gases, and other environmental challenges.

A recent study conducted by a research team from Skoltech, the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and other leading research organizations used a combination of open data and artificial intelligence to analyze how agricultural land suitability may change in the next 25 years. The study, which was published in IEEE Access, focused on the regions of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia.

The researchers employed a three-stage methodology, which included collecting and preprocessing data, training a machine learning model, and evaluating results based on various climate models and shared socioeconomic pathways scenarios. They utilized open data sources such as ERA5 for climate analysis and CMIP models for predicting climate change up to the year 2100.

The research team considered three different climate change scenarios: a sustainable, low-emission green energy future, a ‘business-as-usual’ trajectory with moderate emissions, and a high fossil fuel dependency scenario with increased greenhouse gas emissions. By analyzing these scenarios, the researchers were able to predict changes in cropland distribution and agricultural suitability by 2050.

The study predicts that there will be an increase in croplands in the northern territories, while some currently exploited agricultural regions may require increased irrigation to remain viable. The authors caution that these shifts in agricultural landscapes may pose potential risks and emphasize the importance of developing strategies for the future.

The findings of this research align with recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stress the importance of detailed regional assessments for adapting to climate variability and ensuring food supplies. By predicting trends and potential challenges in agricultural suitability, the study aims to raise awareness about the need for proactive measures to address the impact of climate change on food production.

While the future of agriculture may hold challenges, innovative research methods such as the use of artificial intelligence and open data sources can provide valuable insights into how we can adapt to a rapidly changing climate. By taking proactive steps today, we can work towards ensuring a sustainable and secure food supply for future generations.

Earth

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