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Contributions of individual variation in temperature, solar radiation and precipitation to crop yield in the North China Plain, 1961–2003

Chen, Chao; Baethgen, Walter E.; Robertson, Andrew W.

An understanding of the relative impacts of the changes in climate variables on crop yield can help develop effective adaptation strategies to cope with climate change. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of the interannual variability and trends in temperature, solar radiation and precipitation during 1961–2003 on wheat and maize yields in a double cropping system at Beijing and Zhengzhou in the North China Plain (NCP), and to examine the relative contributions of each climate variable in isolation. 129 climate scenarios consisting of all the combinations of these climate variables were constructed. Each scenario contained 43 years of observed values of one variable, combined with values of the other two variables from each individual year repeated 43 times. The Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) was used to simulate crop yields using the ensemble of generated climate scenarios. The results showed that the warming trend during the study period did not have significant impact on wheat yield potential at both sites, and only had significant negative impact on maize yield potential at Beijing. This is in contrast with previous results on effect of warming. The decreasing trend in solar radiation had a much greater impact on simulated yields of both wheat and maize crops, causing a significant reduction in potential yield of wheat and maize at Beijing. Although decreasing trends in rainfed yield of both simulated wheat and maize were found, the substantial interannual variability of precipitation made the trends less prominent.

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Published Here
April 10, 2013