Past and future changes in regional crop water requirements in Northwest China

  • Xiaoyan Song
  • Songbai SongEmail author
  • Zhi LiEmail author
  • Wenbin Liu
  • Jiuyi Li
  • Yan Kang
  • Wenyi Sun
Original Paper


Northwest China is characterized by a high water deficit and regular water resource shortages. These issues have become limiting factors for agricultural and socioeconomic development. Based on a trend-preserving method of bias correction, we calibrated the maximum temperature and minimum temperature in four CMIP5 GCMs (CNRM, IPSL, BCC, and CMCC). Then, we investigated variations in the regional crop water requirement (CWR) in the total growth stages for five main crops (cotton, spring corn, summer corn, spring wheat, and winter wheat) in the past (1961–2005) and future (2006–2100). The results suggest that the MK test yielded insignificant decreasing CWR trends in the total growth stages of cotton (0.10 mm/year), spring corn (0.13 mm/year), and spring wheat (0.05 mm/year) and insignificant increasing trends for summer corn (0.02 mm/year) and winter wheat (0.32 mm/year) historically. In the future period, for the same type of crops (cotton), the CWRs in all scenarios (RCP 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5 scenarios) for all GCMs exhibited significant positive trends; for the same GCM (BCC), the CWRs projected for five major crops in the RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios all exhibited extremely significant MK trends (99%); in addition, the CWRs’ rate increases of the five crops projected in RCP8.5 scenario by BCC exhibited the following order: winter wheat (1.25 mm/year), summer corn (1.15 mm/year), spring corn (1.02 mm/year), cotton (0.97 mm/year), and spring wheat (0.87 mm/year). The maximum CWRs of winter wheat were mainly observed in southeastern Northwest China, while those of the other four crops occurred in southern Xinjiang.



The authors are grateful to the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP5, and we thank the climate modeling groups (CNRM-CM5, IPSL-CM5A-LR, BCC-CSM1.1, and CMCC-CM) for producing and making available their model output. Furthermore, we acknowledge the National Climate Centre of the China Meteorological Administration for their role in making the maximum temperature and minimum temperature dataset available. This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (nos. 2016YFC0402401 and 2016YFC0501707), National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 41501022 and 51479171). We wish to thank the Associate Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and constructive suggestions, which improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Water Resources and Architectural EngineeringNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of ScienceBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Soil and Water ConservationNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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