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Past and future changes in regional crop water requirements in Northwest China

Song, Xiaoyan, Song, Songbai, Li, Zhi, Liu, Wenbin, Li, Jiuyi, Kang, Yan, Sun, Wenyi
Theoretical and applied climatology 2019 v.137 no.3-4 pp. 2203-2215
Zea mays, cotton, crops, developmental stages, socioeconomic development, spring wheat, temperature, water requirement, winter wheat, China
Northwest China is characterized by a high water deficit and regular water resource shortages. These issues have become limiting factors for agricultural and socioeconomic development. Based on a trend-preserving method of bias correction, we calibrated the maximum temperature and minimum temperature in four CMIP5 GCMs (CNRM, IPSL, BCC, and CMCC). Then, we investigated variations in the regional crop water requirement (CWR) in the total growth stages for five main crops (cotton, spring corn, summer corn, spring wheat, and winter wheat) in the past (1961–2005) and future (2006–2100). The results suggest that the MK test yielded insignificant decreasing CWR trends in the total growth stages of cotton (0.10 mm/year), spring corn (0.13 mm/year), and spring wheat (0.05 mm/year) and insignificant increasing trends for summer corn (0.02 mm/year) and winter wheat (0.32 mm/year) historically. In the future period, for the same type of crops (cotton), the CWRs in all scenarios (RCP 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5 scenarios) for all GCMs exhibited significant positive trends; for the same GCM (BCC), the CWRs projected for five major crops in the RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios all exhibited extremely significant MK trends (99%); in addition, the CWRs’ rate increases of the five crops projected in RCP8.5 scenario by BCC exhibited the following order: winter wheat (1.25 mm/year), summer corn (1.15 mm/year), spring corn (1.02 mm/year), cotton (0.97 mm/year), and spring wheat (0.87 mm/year). The maximum CWRs of winter wheat were mainly observed in southeastern Northwest China, while those of the other four crops occurred in southern Xinjiang.