Amid one of the country's hottest summers on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has labeled almost half of all U.S. counties as "disaster zones," following weeks of little rainfall and temperature indexes hovering near 100 degrees Farenheit. The drought has scorched nearly half of the U.S. corn and soybean crops, prompting some experts to warn that the reduced crop will precipitate a global food crisis as the supply crunch spikes market prices.
But it's not just this corner of the globe that's sweltering: Almost 13 percent of the world's land area is now baked by extreme heat, according to a new report from the National Academy of Sciences. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but the fact that the proportion was less than 1 percent in 1980 shows a dramatic uptick.
The report seems likely to fan the flames of an escalating scientific debate over climate change, while this spring and summer alone, droughts in western Africa, China, Brazil, and large portions of India have already left tens of thousands of farmers destitute and millions of people hungry.
While doomsayers cite the U.S. drought as a looming catastrophe for global food supply, here's a look at the rest of the world's scorched 13 percent.
Above, farmer Marion Kujawa looks over a pond he uses to water his cattle on July 16, in the town of Ashley, Illinois. Kujawa has been digging the pond deeper after it began to dry up during the drought. According to the Illinois Farm Bureau, the state is experiencing the sixth driest year on record. On Aug. 2, the U.S. Congress passed a livestock disaster relief bill that extend the grace period for farmers to make premium insurance payments and allows farmers to use conservation lands for emergency grazing and haying.
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