Biotech Updates

Warmer Nights Threaten India's Rice Production

May 7, 2010

Increase in temperature at night time is affecting the rice production of India, and according to experts, the temperature will continue to rise due to climate change. This problem complicates the nation's problem on food security and inflation. Krishna Kumar Kanikicharla, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, observed that there is an increase of 0.20 oC in the nighttime temperature in the past decade, while there is a 0.16 increase in daytime temperature.

To evaluate the effect of temperature on rice yield, a controlled experiment was conducted by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, wherein the only variable factor was the sun. Rice was grown beside a weather station to ensure accurate temperature measurements. After 25 years, Kenneth Cassman, a professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska and a co-author in the IRRI project, concluded that "Every 1 oC increase in nighttime temperature led a 10 percent reduction in yield." This is alarming because experts project an increase of 4 oC at nighttime. In this situation, the plants would find it hard to respire, reproduce, and would need more energy in their processes.

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