Spatial-temporal precipitation changes (1956-2000) and their implications for agriculture in China Academic Article uri icon


  • Global warming is believed to be accelerating the hydrological cycle and hence altering the spatial and temporal patterns of precipitation changes. This study investigates precipitation changes in both time and space and also the spatial distribution of natural hazards and irrigation areas, and implications for agricultural development in China. Results indicate that: (1) decreasing precipitation is prevailing in spring and autumn and winter is dominated by increasing precipitation. Seasonal shifts in precipitation may pose new challenges for water resource management and for agriculture production in China; (2) spatial distribution of natural hazards and hazard-induced loss of crops is in agreement with spatial patterns of precipitation changes. Generally, northwestern, northern and northeastern parts of China are influenced by droughts; whereas eastern and southeastern parts are prone to floods; and (3) the spatial distribution of irrigation areas and irrigation requirements are in line with that of precipitation changes, implying critical impacts of precipitation changes on agriculture. Current irrigation practices are inefficient and wasteful. Therefore, water-saving agriculture and water-saving agricultural technologies are required for sustainable agricultural development. 2011 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Q., Sun, P., Singh, V. P., & Chen, X.

citation count

  • 92

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Qiang||Sun, Peng||Singh, Vijay P||Chen, Xiaohong

publication date

  • February 2012