SOUTHAMPTON scientists are sounding an early warning after finding a link between increasing temperatures and a reduction in wheat production.

Doctors John Duncan, Jadu Dash and Professor Pete Atkinson, all of the University of Southampton, have shown that recent warmer weather in India’s wheat belt is having a negative effect on crops.

The researchers used satellite images taken at weekly intervals from 2002 to 2007 to measure the plant’s growth and compared this with climate and temperature information.

They discovered that warmer temperatures reduce crop yield and warmer minimum daily temperatures had the most significant impact.

Dr Dash said: “Our findings highlight the vulnerability of India’s wheat production system to temperature rise, which is predicted to continue in the coming decades as a consequence of climate change. We are sounding an early warning to the problem, which could have serious implications in the future and so needs further investigation.”