Climate change is putting a crimp on the future viability of many of our favorite foods — and now a new study says that tea could face significant impacts from shifting seasonal patterns.
In a report published in the journal Climate, Tufts University researchers scoured through historical weather records as well as Camellia sinensis tea production data from the years 1980 to 2011 using a unique "yield response model" to predict the "onset, duration, and retreat of the East Asian Monsoon." After crunching the numbers, the scientists discovered a "delayed monsoon retreat and increased daily precipitation during the monsoon period was negatively associated with tea yields."
The study found that just a 1 percent increase in the date of the "monsoon retreat" would lead to a reduction in yields between 0.48 percent and 0.535 percent. A 1 percent increase in average daily rainfall would cut tea yields by "0.18 percent to 0.26 percent."
The researchers warned that adaptation plans needed to be put in place to assuage the severe effects of rising global temperatures.