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Title: Separating the impacts of heat stress events from rising mean temperatures on winter wheat yield of China

Warming due to climate change has profound impacts on regional crop yields, and this includes impacts from rising mean growing season temperature and heat stress events. Adapting to these two impacts could be substantially different, and the overall contribution of these two factors on the effects of climate warming and crop yield is not known. This study used the improved WheatGrow model, which can reproduce the effects of temperature change and heat stress, along with detailed information from 19 location-specific cultivars and local agronomic management practices at 129 research stations across the main wheat-producing region of China, to quantify the regional impacts of temperature increase and heat stress separately on wheat in China. Historical climate, plus two future low-warming scenarios (1.5 °C/2.0 °C warming above pre-industrial) and one future high-warming scenario (RCP8.5), were applied using the crop model, without considering elevated CO2effects. The results showed that heat stress and its yield impact were more severe in the cooler northern sub-regions than the warmer southern sub-regions with historical and future warming scenarios. Heat stress was estimated to reduce wheat yield in most of northern sub-regions by 2.0%–4.0% (up to 29% in extreme years) under the historical climate. Climate warming is more » projected to increase heat stress events in frequency and extent, especially in northern sub-regions. Surprisingly, higher warming did not result in more yield-impacting heat stress compared to low-warming, due to advanced phenology with mean warming and finally avoiding heat stress events during grain filling in summer. Most negative impacts of climate warming are attributed to increasing mean growing-season temperature, while changes in heat stress are projected to reduce wheat yields by an additional 1.0%–1.5% in northern sub-regions. Adapting to climate change in China must consider the different regional and temperature impacts to be effective.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 124035
IOP Publishing
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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