Scenario development for estimating potential climate change impacts on crop production in the North China Plain

Chen, Chao; Baethgen, Walter E.; Robertson, Andrew W.; Greene, Arthur M.; Eamus, Derek

It is important to investigate potential changes in temperature, precipitation and solar radiation for assessing the impacts of future climate change on agricultural production for specific regions. In this study, climate scenarios of precipitation, temperature and solar radiation for the North China Plain (NCP) were constructed in terms of stochastic daily weather sequences. A nonhomogeneous hidden Markov model (NHMM) was used to downscale daily precipitation projections at 32 stations during winter wheat and summer maize growing seasons for a baseline (1966–2005) and a 21st century (2080–2099) A1B scenario, using selected general circulation models (GCMs). A climatological seasonal cycle of regional-averaged daily reanalysis precipitation was used as input to the down-scaling for the baseline simulation; this input was then scaled by the precipitation changes from GCM projections to generate down-scaled stochastic simulations of precipitation in the 21st century. Temperature was generated using a weakly stationary generating process, conditional on precipitation occurrence, with 21st century additive changes taken from the GCMs at the regional scale. Three hypotheses about changes in solar radiation (−20%, 0% and 20%) were made considering the large uncertainty in its future change. The down-scaled simulations exhibit station increases in the mean daily rainfall of 13.9–69.7% in the scenarios driven by the GCM with the projected largest and multi-model mean precipitation increase for the wheat season, with changes of 0.4–29.9% for the maize season. In the scenario driven by the GCM with the largest projected precipitation decrease, the simulated rainfall decreases at all stations, with changes ranging from −24.6 to −0.1% for the wheat and maize seasons, respectively. Temperature increases by about 3.7 ◦C for the wheat season and 3.6 ◦C for the maize season.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for ChenGreeneRobertsonBaethgenEamus_IJC13.pdf ChenGreeneRobertsonBaethgenEamus_IJC13.pdf application/pdf 716 KB Download File

Also Published In

International Journal of Climatology

More About This Work

Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
April 10, 2013