Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (6): 643-657.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1290-3

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal changes in agricultural hydrothermal conditions in China from 1951 to 2010

Yaoping CUI(), Xiaoju NING(), Yaochen QIN*(), Xu LI, Youmin CHEN   

  1. College of Environment and Planning, Key Laboratory of Geospatial Technology for Middle and Lower Yellow River Regions, Henan Collaborative Innovation Center for Coordinating Industrialization, Urbanization and Modernization in Center Economic Zone, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
  • Received:2015-12-29 Accepted:2016-02-01 Online:2016-06-15 Published:2016-06-15
  • Contact: Yaochen QIN;;
  • About author:

    Author: Cui Yaoping (1984-) specialized in land use and climate change, E-mail:; Ning Xiaoju (1987-) specialized in sustainable development, E-mail: Both of the authors had the same contributions to the paper.

  • Supported by:
    National Basic Program of China (973 Program), No.2012CB955800;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41171438, No.41401504


Based on the daily observation data of 824 meteorological stations during 1951- 2010 released by the National Meteorological Information Center, this paper evaluated the changes in the heat and moisture conditions of crop growth. An average value of ten years was used to analyze the spatio-temporal variation in the agricultural hydrothermal conditions within a 1 km2 grid. Next, the inter-annual changing trend was simulated by regression analysis of the agricultural hydrothermal conditions. The results showed that the contour lines for temperature and accumulated temperatures (the daily mean temperature ≥0°C) increased significantly in most parts of China, and that the temperature contour lines had all moved northwards over the past 60 years. At the same time, the annual precipitation showed a decreasing trend, though more than half of the meteorological stations did not pass the significance test. However, the mean temperatures in the hottest month and the coldest month exhibited a decreasing trend from 1951 to 2010. In addition, the 0°C contour line gradually moved from the Qinling Mountains and Huaihe River Basin to the Yellow River Basin. All these changes would have a significant impact on the distribution of crops and farming systems. Although the mechanisms influencing the interactive temperature and precipitation changes on crops were complex and hard to distinguish, the fact remained that these changes would directly cause corresponding changes in crop characteristics.

Key words: temperature, precipitation, accumulated temperature, agricultural condition, China