Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 11–12, pp 4469–4487 | Cite as

Separating out the influence of climatic trend, fluctuations, and extreme events on crop yield: a case study in Hunan Province, China

  • Zhu Wang
  • Peijun ShiEmail author
  • Zhao Zhang
  • Yongchang Meng
  • Yibo Luan
  • Jiwei Wang


Separating out the influence of climatic trend, fluctuations and extreme events on crop yield is of paramount importance to climate change adaptation, resilience, and mitigation. Previous studies lack systematic and explicit assessment of these three fundamental aspects of climate change on crop yield. This research attempts to separate out the impacts on rice yields of climatic trend (linear trend change related to mean value), fluctuations (variability surpassing the “fluctuation threshold” which defined as one standard deviation (1 SD) of the residual between the original data series and the linear trend value for each climatic variable), and extreme events (identified by absolute criterion for each kind of extreme events related to crop yield). The main idea of the research method was to construct climate scenarios combined with crop system simulation model. Comparable climate scenarios were designed to express the impact of each climate change component and, were input to the crop system model (CERES-Rice), which calculated the related simulated yield gap to quantify the percentage impacts of climatic trend, fluctuations, and extreme events. Six Agro-Meteorological Stations (AMS) in Hunan province were selected to study the quantitatively impact of climatic trend, fluctuations and extreme events involving climatic variables (air temperature, precipitation, and sunshine duration) on early rice yield during 1981–2012. The results showed that extreme events were found to have the greatest impact on early rice yield (−2.59 to −15.89%). Followed by climatic fluctuations with a range of −2.60 to −4.46%, and then the climatic trend (4.91–2.12%). Furthermore, the influence of climatic trend on early rice yield presented “trade-offs” among various climate variables and AMS. Climatic trend and extreme events associated with air temperature showed larger effects on early rice yield than other climatic variables, particularly for high-temperature events (−2.11 to −12.99%). Finally, the methodology use to separate out the influences of the climatic trend, fluctuations, and extreme events on crop yield was proved to be feasible and robust. Designing different climate scenarios and feeding them into a crop system model is a potential way to evaluate the quantitative impact of each climate variable.


Climatic trend Climatic fluctuations Extreme events Rice yield Climate impact 



We are thankful for the comments of anonymous reviewers and the editors. This study was financially supported by the Foundation for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41321001), the State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology and the Faculty of Geographical Science of Beijing Normal University.

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency ManagementBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Geographical ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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