GEOG 501: Climate, Agriculture and Food Security

University of Idaho, Spring Semester 2014

Scope of Course: 
Climate plays a fundamental role in the global distribution of energy and moisture, and subsequently resources for food and water. Year to year variability in energy and moisture along with extreme weather events have historically resulted in widespread crop loss, economic losses and famine. While technological advances in agriculture have increased the efficiency to feed a global population, direct and indirect stressors from climate change are likely to have ramifications for agriculture and food security. Additionally, agriculture constitutes a significant portion of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, allowing for feedbacks to the climate system. This class will examine current literature on the intersection of climate, agriculture and food security. 

Class Readings (read in advance for each weeks discussion)

Jan 21: Overview of Climate Science and Climate Change

Jan 28: Climate Variability and Extremes (discussion leads: Lauren Parker and Paige Farrell)

Feb 4: Projected Changes in Climate (discussion leads: Luca Marini and Spencer Batt)

Feb 11: Projected changes in water availability (discussion leads: Paige Farrell and Wenlong Feng)


Feb 18: Direct Effects of Climate Change on Crops (discussion leads: Erik Boren, Wenlong Feng and Aly Bean)

Feb 25: Indirect Effects of Climate Change on Crops (discussion leads:  Erik Boren, Laura Courtox and Ed Flathers)
  1. Crop Pests and Pathogens Move Poleward in a Warming World, Bebber et al., 2013, Nature Climate Change
  2. Global warming presents new challenges for maize pest management, Diffenbaugh et al., 2008, ERL
  3. Integrating pests and pathogens into the climate change/food security debate, Gregory et al., 2009, Soc Ex Bio

Mar 4: No class


Mar 11: Impacts Modeling and Uncertainties  (discussion leads: Luca Marini and Ed Flathers)
Mar 18: Spring Break

Mar 25: Multimodel comparisons (discussion leads: Lauren Parker and Wenlong Feng)

April 8:  
Food Security, Part 1 (discussion leads: Ed Flathers and Laura Courtox)
April 22: no class

April 29: Mitigation (discussion leads: Paige Farrell, Aly Bean and Spencer Batt)
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