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Nature. 2010 Sep 2;467(7311):43-51. doi: 10.1038/nature09364.

The impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture in China.

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Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Science, Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, and Center of Climate Research, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.


China is the world's most populous country and a major emitter of greenhouse gases. Consequently, much research has focused on China's influence on climate change but somewhat less has been written about the impact of climate change on China. China experienced explosive economic growth in recent decades, but with only 7% of the world's arable land available to feed 22% of the world's population, China's economy may be vulnerable to climate change itself. We find, however, that notwithstanding the clear warming that has occurred in China in recent decades, current understanding does not allow a clear assessment of the impact of anthropogenic climate change on China's water resources and agriculture and therefore China's ability to feed its people. To reach a more definitive conclusion, future work must improve regional climate simulations-especially of precipitation-and develop a better understanding of the managed and unmanaged responses of crops to changes in climate, diseases, pests and atmospheric constituents.

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