Hot Weather Damages Crops
Ever sliced a ripe tomato only to find the inside walls have white, fibrous spots? It's the result of hot weather.
Jane C Martin, a horticulturist who writes for the Columbus Dispatch, reveals that above 90 degree temperatures makes tomato blossoms drop. The tomatoes that do manage to form end up developing hard, internal white tissues in the walls of the fruit. These white spots can grow all the way into the core when hot weather persists.
Peppers also suffer blossom drop. Fruit set is slowed in both tomatoes and peppers in weather that's hotter than usual.
The ideal temperature range for peppers is 70 to 80 degrees during the day, 60 to 70 degrees during the night. But for the past few weeks, there were days when temperatures in Columbus, Ohio, stayed in the 90s.
Martin, who accepts letters from farmers and gardeners and advises them on all things horticultural, also reports that growers are experiencing a lack of fruit set on pumpkins, gourds, and squashes as well.
High temperatures coupled with dry conditions during flowering also reduce yield as they affect pollen viability as well as fruit set.
So, regardless of whether we believe that global warming is real or simply alarmist hype, ask any farmer who has seen lower yields in crops and lesser quality in the crops they grow, and they'll tell you that warmer temperatures have already significantly compromised the quantity and quality of several types of produce.
This has far-reaching social, economic, and even political implications.
As crop yields drop, we might need to rely more heavily on imported (a.k.a. unregulated) produce when it gets too hot to grow enough of the produce we enjoy consuming for both pleasure and health. This means that more money will flow out of this country in addition to our becoming more reliant on other food producing countries.
For farmers who want to maintain the quantity and quality of production, there's the option for them to switch to growing produce that thrives in warmer weather, but that would entail the complications of changing farmers' decisions on what to grow and, perhaps even more complicated, changing the food preferences of Americans.