Impacts of climate change and climate extremes on major crops productivity in China at a global warming of 1.5 and 2.0 °C

Chen, Yi; Zhang, Zhao; Tao, Fulu

A new temperature goal of “holding the increase in global average temperature well below 2 inline-formulaC above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 inline-formulaC 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 inline-formulaC 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 inline-formulaC 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 inline-formulaCO2 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 inline-formula+3.9 (inline-formula+8.6), inline-formula+4.1 (inline-formula+9.4) and inline-formula+0.2 % (inline-formula−1.7 %), respectively, in a warming scenario of 1.5 inline-formulaC (2.0 inline-formulaC). 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 inline-formulaC warming to 2.0 inline-formulaC warming, the probability of a crop yield decrease would decrease. Our findings highlight that the 2.0 inline-formulaC 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.

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Chen, Yi / Zhang, Zhao / Tao, Fulu: Impacts of climate change and climate extremes on major crops productivity in China at a global warming of 1.5 and 2.0 °C. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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