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Responses of wheat growth and yield to climate change in different climate zones of China, 1981–2009

Tao, Fulu, Zhang, Zhao, Xiao, Dengpan, Zhang, Shuai, Rötter, Reimund P., Shi, Wenjiao, Liu, Yujie, Wang, Meng, Liu, Fengshan, Zhang, He
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2014 v.189-190 pp. 91-104
climate change, climate models, climatic zones, crop yield, cultivars, flowering, phenology, regression analysis, solar radiation, sowing date, temperature, wheat, China
The experiment observations at 120 agricultural meteorological stations spanning from 1981 to 2009 across China were used to accelerate understandings of the response of wheat growth and productivity to climate change in different climate zones, with panel regression models. We found climate during wheat growth period had changed significantly during 1981–2009, and the change had caused measurable impacts on wheat growth and yield in most of the zones. Wheat anthesis date and maturity date advanced significantly, and the lengths of growth period before anthesis and whole growth period were significantly shortened, however the length of reproductive growth period was significantly prolonged despite of the negative impacts of temperature increase. The increasing adoption of cultivars with longer reproductive growth period offset the negative impacts of climate change and increased yield. Changes in temperature, precipitation and solar radiation in the past three decades jointly increased wheat yield in northern China by 0.9–12.9%, however reduced wheat yield in southern China by 1.2–10.2%, with a large spatial difference. Our studies better represented crop system dynamics using detailed phenological records, consequently better accounted for adaptations such as shifts in sowing date and crop cultivars photo-thermal traits when quantifying climate impacts on wheat yield. Our findings suggest the response of wheat growth and yield to climate change is underway in China. The changes in crop system dynamics and cultivars traits have to be sufficiently taken into account to improve the prediction of climate impacts and to plan adaptations for future.