Higher daytime temperatures can increase rice yields, but higher nighttime temperatures have a negative effect. The nighttime temperatures are rising faster and will cause a net loss in productivity, said Jarrod Welch, lead author and graduate student of economics at the University of California, San Diego.
"If we cannot change our rice production methods or develop new rice strains that can withstand higher temperatures, there will be a loss in rice production over the next few decades as days and nights get hotter," Welch wrote in the study. "This will get increasingly worse as temperatures rise further towards the middle of the century."
Billions of people depend on rice as their daily. At high risk is the Philippines -- one of the world's biggest importers of rice. Domestic production cannot meet demand and a severe supply crisis in 2008 proved how vulnerable the economy is to disruptions in the global market.
If global rice producers start to cut back on exports, the Philippines will be left high and dry, literally forced to eat kamote (a local root crop seen by many Filipinos as best left to the underclass to eat).