Food prices rose 0.4 percent in the United States last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thanks in large part to ongoing drought in the Western U.S. and other parts of the world. Earlier this month, atmospheric carbon dioxide rose over 400 parts-per-million earlier in the year than at any previous recorded time. Those things are only loosely linked right now. That link is growing stronger.
The Wall Street Journal links the food price increase to "tight cattle supplies after years of drought in states such as Texas and California" — as well as increased demand for milk. It's also thanks to higher prices for fruits and vegetables, such as are produced in California, and coffee prices, which are up thanks to drought in Brazil. The Department of Agriculture estimates a 2.5 to 3.5 percent increase in food prices over the course of 2014. That's lower than other recent years, but the spike from January to February — seen at right — is clear.
Whether or not California's drought is a direct result of climate change is debated by scientists, as was the extended, historic drought in Texas. But extended droughts in dry areas are precisely what you'd expect to see as climate change accelerates. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explains how precipitation patterns will change as the world warms: more rain in wet areas, more drought in dry areas, both in some places.