Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 101-116.doi: 10.1007/s11442-022-1938-0

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Contributions of climate change to cereal yields in Tibet, 1993-2017

DING Rui1,2(), SHI Wenjiao1,2()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-09-26 Accepted:2021-11-05 Online:2022-01-25 Published:2022-03-25
  • Contact: SHI Wenjiao;
  • About author:Ding Rui (1998-), Master Candidate, specialized in regional agriculture and geographic information analysis. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20040301);Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20010202);Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23100202);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771111);Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences(2018071)


Climate change is a global environmental crisis, but there have been few studies of the effects of climate change on cereal yields on the Tibetan Plateau. We used data from meteorological stations and statistical yearbooks to assess the impacts of climate change on cereal yields in Tibet. Three types of statistical models were selected: fixed-effects model, first-difference models, and linear detrending models. We analyzed the impacts of climate change (including the minimum temperature, precipitation, growing degree days and solar radiation) on cereal yields in Tibet from 1993 to 2017 at the county, prefecture-level city, and autonomous region scales. The results showed that the sensitivity of cereal yields in Tibet to temperature (minimum temperature and growing degree days) was greater than their sensitivity to precipitation and solar radiation. The joint impacts of climate variables were positive, but the sensitivity and significance varied in different regions. The impacts of minimum temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation were positive in all cities, apart from the negative impacts of growing degree days on cereal yields in Lhasa. The impacts of climate trends on cereal yields in Tibet were positive and the results were in the range of 1.5%-4.8%. Among the three types of model, the fixed-effects model was the most robust and the linear detrending model performed better than the first-difference model. The robustness of the first-difference model decreased after adding the interaction terms between different climate variables. Our findings will help in implementing more spatially targeted agricultural adaptations to cope with the impacts of climate change on the agro-ecosystem of the Tibetan Plateau.

Key words: Tibetan Plateau, climate change, statistical model, cereal, yields