Rising Temperatures and Corn Production in Northeast China
Chen, C., Lei, C., Deng, A., Qian, C., Hoogmoed, W. and Zhang, W. 2011. Will higher minimum temperatures increase corn production in northeast China? An analysis of historical data over 1965-2008. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 151: 1580-1588.
To obtain this important knowledge, Chen et al., as they describe it, "performed a multiple regression analysis to study the relationship between corn growth and the key climatic factors of temperature and precipitation during the crop growing season and during specific months in Northeast China from 1965 to 2008," in order to learn "which variables of climate change and which month in the crop growing season were associated with yield variability over this 44-year period."
The six scientists determined that the major climate factor affecting corn yield in Northeast China is daily minimum temperature, particularly in the months of May and September; and they found that a warming of 1.0°C in the mean daily minimum temperature of either of these months may enhance corn yield by either 303 kg/ha or 284 kg/ha, respectively. In addition, they found that growth duration - defined as the period from sowing to harvest (days to maturity) - rose by six days in Liaoning province and by seven days in Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces over the period 1950-2008, which encompassed the period of 1965-2008, when daily minimum temperature rose at a rate of 0.44°C per decade.
Considering these findings,"in order to fully exploit the positive effects of global warming on corn production," in the words of Chen et al., "new varieties should be adapted to the longer growing season," which adjustment could be described as a good example of man and nature working together to insure maximum food security for a large portion of mankind.