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Agricultural Adaptation to Global Warming in the Tibetan Plateau

Journal article
Authors Y. L. Song
C. Y. Wang
Hans W. Linderholm
J. F. Tian
Y. Shi
J. X. Xu
Y. J. Liu
Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 16
Issue 19
Pages 11
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 11
Language en
Keywords global warming, agricultural adaptation, Tibetan plateau, climate model regcm2, china, temperature, variability, extremes, impacts, growth, yield, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, Public, Environmental & Occupational, Health
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


The Tibetan plateau is one of the most sensitive areas in China and has been significantly affected by global warming. From 1961 to 2017, the annual air temperature increased by 0.32 degrees C/decade over the Tibetan Plateau, which is the highest in the whole of China. Furthermore, this is a trend that is projected to continue by 0.30 degrees C/decade from 2018 to 2050 due to global warming using the Regional Climate Model version 4 (RegCM4). The increased temperature trend in recent decades has been highest in winter, which has been positive for the safe dormancy of winter wheat. In order to investigate agricultural adaptation to climate change in the Tibetan plateau, we used the World Food Studies (WOFOST) cropping systems model and weather data from the regional climate model RegCM4, to simulate winter wheat production in Guide county between 2018 and 2050. The simulated winter wheat potential yields amounted to 6698.3 kg/ha from 2018 to 2050, which showed the wheat yields would increase by 81%, if winter wheat was planted instead of spring wheat in the Tibetan Plateau with the correct amount of irrigation water. These results indicate that there are not only risks to crop yields from climate change, but also potential benefits. Global warming introduced the possibility to plant winter wheat instead of spring wheat over the Tibetan Plateau. These findings are very important for farmers and government agencies dealing with agricultural adaptation in a warmer climate.

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