Response of maize phenology to climate warming in Northeast China between 1990 and 2012
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Investigating the temporal changes in crop phenology is essential for understanding crop response and adaption to climate change. Using observed climatic and maize phenological data from 53 agricultural meteorological stations in Northeast China between 1990 and 2012, this study analyzed the spatiotemporal changes in maize phenology, temperatures and their correlations in major maize-growing areas (latitudes 39–48°N) of Northeast China. During the investigation period, seedling and heading dates advanced significantly at 22 out of the 53 stations; maturity dates delayed significantly at 23 stations, and the growing period (GP, from seedling to maturity), the vegetative growing period (VGP, from seedling to heading) and the reproductive growing period (RGP, from heading to maturity) increased significantly at 30 % of the investigated stations. GP length was positively correlated with T mean at 40 stations and significantly at 10 stations (P < 0.01). Both negative and positive correlations were found between VGP and T mean, while RGP length was significantly and positively correlated with T mean. The results indicated that agronomic factors contribute substantially to the shift in maize phenology and that most farmers had adopted longer season cultivars because the increase in temperature provided better conditions for maize germination, emergence and grain filling. The findings on the various changes to maize phenology can help climate change impact studies and will enable regional maize production to cope with ongoing climate change.
KeywordsClimate change Regional response Crop phenology Northeast China
We are grateful for the financial support for our initial and ongoing research from the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (Grant No. 2010CB951502) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 40930101, 41171328, and 41201184).
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