“Extreme weather patterns associated with heat waves and droughts are raising the risks of simultaneous harvest failures of vital crops worldwide such as wheat, maize and soybeans, two studies published Monday found. This is pushing the world closer to the edge of potential food price spikes, associated social unrest and food shortages.
The studies, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that in an increasingly interconnected world, there’s a greater chance that extreme weather events can have ripple effects in more than one region at once.
In particular, when the jet stream — the high-altitude air current that steers storms and separates air masses, takes on more undulating and persistent wavy shapes (technically known as “Rossby waves,” after the scientist Carl-Gustaf Rossby), extreme heat events become more common in particular parts of the world. These locations include the breadbasket regions of western North America, Western Europe, western Russia, and western Asia, depending on the exact jet stream pattern that develops and locks into place.”