Editor's Summary

2 September 2010

China's growth factor


China, since mid-2010 the world's second biggest economy and tipped to become the biggest in a few decades, has tremendous climatic and ecological diversity. The likely impact of China's economic expansion on the global climate has been extensively studied but little is known about the reverse case — the susceptibility of natural and managed systems in China to climate change. In a Review, Shilong Piao et al. assess the impacts of historical and future climate change on water resources and agriculture in China. They find that in spite of clear trends in climate (especially temperature), overall impacts are overshadowed by natural variability and uncertainties in crop responses and projected climate, especially precipitation. In a best-case scenario, crop production is constant, whereas the worst-case scenario suggests that production could fall by about 20% by 2050.

ReviewThe impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture in China

Shilong Piao, Philippe Ciais, Yao Huang, Zehao Shen, Shushi Peng, Junsheng Li, Liping Zhou, Hongyan Liu, Yuecun Ma, Yihui Ding, Pierre Friedlingstein, Chunzhen Liu, Kun Tan, Yongqiang Yu, Tianyi Zhang & Jingyun Fang

doi:10.1038/nature09364