Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
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100F Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford St., Cambridge

Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry Seminar

Michael Puma, Columbia University, will discuss "Exploring the Impacts of Major Atmospheric Anomalies on the Contemporary Global Food System."

Major atmospheric anomalies – especially those associated with volcanic eruptions – have led to severe disruptions in crop production throughout history. Unfortunately, today’s complex global food system is not well positioned to deal with such unpredictable events due to mounting pressures associated with climate change, increases in food demand (associated with shifting diets, biofuels, and population growth), and depletion of water resources in key agricultural regions.  To gain insight into the scale and magnitude of potential disruptions, it is instructive to examine past atmospheric anomalies and explore the sensitivity of the contemporary food system to such events.  Here I explore how the global food system would potentially response to an event like the 1783-1784 Laki eruption. Using a model that simulates short-term responses to a food supply shock originating in multiple countries, I examine how both changes in trade and the distribution of food reserves influence shock transmission.  Moving forward, improved insights into the climate impacts of major atmospheric anomalies will help us to better understand vulnerabilities in the global food system.

Speaker bio


Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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