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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 543-562, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-543-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
18 May 2018
Impacts of climate change and climate extremes on major crops productivity in China at a global warming of 1.5 and 2.0 °C
Yi Chen1, Zhao Zhang2, and Fulu Tao1,3 1Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Hazards, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Abstract. A new temperature goal of holding the increase in global average temperature well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels has been established in the Paris Agreement, which calls for an understanding of climate risk under 1.5 and 2.0 °C warming scenarios. Here, we evaluated the effects of climate change on growth and productivity of three major crops (i.e. maize, wheat, rice) in China during 2106–2115 in warming scenarios of 1.5 and 2.0 °C using a method of ensemble simulation with well-validated Model to capture the Crop–Weather relationship over a Large Area (MCWLA) family crop models, their 10 sets of optimal crop model parameters and 70 climate projections from four global climate models. We presented the spatial patterns of changes in crop growth duration, crop yield, impacts of heat and drought stress, as well as crop yield variability and the probability of crop yield decrease. Results showed that climate change would have major negative impacts on crop production, particularly for wheat in north China, rice in south China and maize across the major cultivation areas, due to a decrease in crop growth duration and an increase in extreme events. By contrast, with moderate increases in temperature, solar radiation, precipitation and atmospheric CO2 concentration, agricultural climate resources such as light and thermal resources could be ameliorated, which would enhance canopy photosynthesis and consequently biomass accumulations and yields. The moderate climate change would slightly worsen the maize growth environment but would result in a much more appropriate growth environment for wheat and rice. As a result, wheat, rice and maize yields would change by +3.9 (+8.6), +4.1 (+9.4) and +0.2 % (−1.7 %), respectively, in a warming scenario of 1.5 °C (2.0 °C). In general, the warming scenarios would bring more opportunities than risks for crop development and food security in China. Moreover, although the variability of crop yield would increase from 1.5 °C warming to 2.0 °C warming, the probability of a crop yield decrease would decrease. Our findings highlight that the 2.0 °C warming scenario would be more suitable for crop production in China, but more attention should be paid to the expected increase in extreme event impacts.
Citation: Chen, Y., Zhang, Z., and Tao, F.: Impacts of climate change and climate extremes on major crops productivity in China at a global warming of 1.5 and 2.0 °C, Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 543-562, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-543-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
We evaluated the effects of warming scenarios (1.5 and 2.0˚C) on the production of maize, wheat and rice in China using MCWLA models and four global climate models. Results showed that the warming scenarios would bring more opportunities than risks for food security in China. A 2.0˚C warming would lead to larger variability of crop yield but less probability of crop yield decrease than 1.5˚C warming. More attention should be paid to adaptations to the expected increase in extreme event impacts.
We evaluated the effects of warming scenarios (1.5 and 2.0˚C) on the production of maize, wheat...
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