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Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 851;

Adaptive Effectiveness of Irrigated Area Expansion in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change on Crop Yields in Northern China

State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
School of Advanced Agricultural Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 1000871, China
BICIC, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 1000875, China
This paper was presented at the Global Land Programme 3rd Open Science Meeting, Beijing, China, 24–27 October 2016.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Elaine Wheaton and Suren N. Kulshreshtha
Received: 22 February 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change)
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To improve adaptive capacity and further strengthen the role of irrigation in mitigating climate change impacts, the Chinese government has planned to expand irrigated areas by 4.4% by the 2030s. Examining the adaptive potential of irrigated area expansion under climate change is therefore critical. Here, we assess the effects of irrigated area expansion on crop yields based on county-level data during 1980–2011 in northern China and estimate climate impacts under irrigated area scenarios in the 2030s. Based on regression analysis, there is a statistically significant effect of irrigated area expansion on reducing negative climate impacts. More irrigated areas indicate less heat and drought impacts. Irrigated area expansion will alleviate yield reduction by 0.7–0.8% in the future but associated yield benefits will still not compensate for greater adverse climate impacts. Yields are estimated to decrease by 4.0–6.5% under future climate conditions when an additional 4.4% of irrigated area is established, and no fundamental yield increase with an even further 10% or 15% expansion of irrigated area is predicted. This finding suggests that expected adverse climate change risks in the 2030s cannot be mitigated by expanding irrigated areas. A combination of this and other adaptation programs is needed to guarantee grain production under more serious drought stresses in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: irrigated area; drought; climate; adaptation; SPEI irrigated area; drought; climate; adaptation; SPEI

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Zhang, T.; Wang, J.; Teng, Y. Adaptive Effectiveness of Irrigated Area Expansion in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change on Crop Yields in Northern China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 851.

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