Is our morning brew in danger?

The CSIRO has recently released research done in conjunction with the University of Southern Queensland that has confirmed that global coffee production is facing major threats due to increasing and concurrent hazards fuelled by climate change.

The results of the study indicate that climate hazards, like extremes in temperature and rainfall, had increased across every one of the top 12 coffee-producing regions globally from 1980–2020 and are occurring in multiple locations at the same time.

“Coffee crops can fail if the annual average temperature and rainfall is not within an optimal range,” said Dr Doug Richardson, the research scientist who led the research while at CSIRO.

“The frequency of climate events has been increasing over the last 40 years, and we see clear evidence of global warming playing a role, as the predominant types of climate hazards have shifted from cold and wet to warm and dry.

“Since 1980, global coffee production has become increasingly at risk of synchronised crop failures, which can be driven by climate hazards that affect multiple coffee-producing areas simultaneously,” he continued.

Previous international research indicated that there could be a 50 percent reduction in suitable land for growing coffee globally by 2050.

CSIRO research scientist James Risbey said that certain recurring climate patterns are important predictors of hazards in coffee-growing regions.

“The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) – a recurring climate pattern affecting the tropics and extratropics – can help predict hazards in some regions like tropical South America, Indonesia and Vietnam,” Dr Risbey said.

“The good news is that ENSO appears to have less of an impact on Southern Brazil, the world’s biggest producer of Arabica coffee.

“Southern Brazil could therefore help to dampen coffee production shocks felt elsewhere during significant ENSO events like prolonged cool weather (La Niña) or warm weather (El Niño),” he said.

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