Reporting a World-Wide View of Global Warming Effects on Irrigation Development and Crop Production

We have entered the 21st century in amazing ignorance of what is likely to happen in terms of both the natural changes and the human activities that influence the climate and the responses of the Planet to those stimuli, considering the immense advances in our capacity to understand, interpret and eventually control the natural world. Climate change issues have been the focus of world opinion in recent years. One definite fact is that in its recent evolutionary history, the earth will be exposed to stresses hitherto unprecedented. The “world of tomorrow” will not necessarily be an exaggerated version of the “world of today,” with more people, more energy use and more manufacturing, but it will be qualitatively different in at least three significant ways from today. Second, the relationship between man and the natural world would be changed by modern technologies. An example is the gradual transition from agriculture which, through the application of bio-technologies, is heavily dependent on chemicals to one which is essentially biologically intensive. Consequently, if the production and use of such species is not closely regulated, the introduction of bio-engineered organisms is likely to pose new kinds of risks. Second, society will shift past the age of environmental issues that are localised. Many neighbouring countries are now interested in what were once local cases of natural resource impairment shared in a common watershed or basin. What were once acute, short-lived reversible damage episodes are now impacting several generations. What were once basic conservation versus growth issues now represent more nuanced linkages. Climate changes apply to the third big shift. It is generally accepted today that the rising accumulation in the atmosphere of so-called greenhouse gases affects the radiation balance of the Planet and causes the temperature to rise. In turn, this mechanism provides the framework for a sequence of events that leads to changes in the various components of the hydrological cycle, such as the rate of evapotranspiration, precipitation intensity and frequency, river flows, soil moisture, and recharge of groundwater. In response to these impacts, society is required to take adaptation steps, including improvements in land use practises, the implementation of new soil and water management techniques and the search for non-conventional water supplies (e.g. saline/brackish waters, desalinated waters, and treated wastewater). As society enters an age of increasingly dynamic paths into the global economy, all these challenges will become more pronounced in the years to come. In this context, planning standards, design requirements, operating rules, contingency plans and management policies for new infrastructures need to be systematically checked by engineers and decision makers. This study offers an overview of current and future (time period 2025) trends in irrigation and food production around the world, in relation to these issues and based on available information. In addition, the paper analyses the effects of the most recent and advanced General Circulation Models to determine the hydrological impacts of climate variability on crop requirements, the availability of water and the irrigation system planning and design process. Finally, a five-step planning and design protocol is suggested that is capable of incorporating the hydrological effects of climate change within the construction process. Further studies on the mechanisms regulating climate change, the effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on vegetation and runoff, the impact of climate variables on crops, and the effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on vegetation and runoff are needed to establish a holistic approach that incorporates all these factors into irrigation project selection. Water requirements and the effect of the environment on the efficiency of infrastructure. References to innovations in the irrigation section on Page 3 were included for researchers interested in irrigation and drainage and in crop production under changing climatic conditions. For policy makers to adopt or to make a notice, several climate action plans established by a few towns, states and different countries are cited. In the end, few citations are also included to inform each of us relevant to global warming, who are not acquainted with the scientific work of our colleagues. The colleagues are from diverse disciplines, including physics, mathematics, agricultural engineering, crop scientists and United Nations policy makers. When you click on them, most of the quotation links open up. If not, on any web browser, copy and paste the link.

Author (s) Details

Daniele De Wrachien
Department of Agricultural Engineering, State University of Milano, Milano, Italy.

Dr. Mudlagiri B. Goli
Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, USA.

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