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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-14
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2019-14
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Feb 2019

Research article | 11 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Extreme droughts/floods and their impacts on harvest derived from historical documents in Eastern China during 801–1910

Zhixin Hao1,2, Maowei Wu1, Jingyun Zheng1,2, Jiewei Chen1,2, Xuezhen Zhang1,2, and Shiwei Luo3 Zhixin Hao et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 3School of Geography and Tourism Science, Chongqing Normal University, Chongqing 401331, China

Abstract. Chinese historical documents recorded plenty of information related with climate change and grain harvest, which are helpful to explore the impacts of extreme drought/flood on crops and the implications on adaptation for agriculture to more extreme climate probability in the context of global warming. Here, we used the reconstructed extreme drought/flood chronologies and reconstructed grain harvest series derived from historical documents to investigate the connection between the occurrences of extreme drought/flood in eastern China and poor harvest during 801–1910. The results showed that more extreme droughts occurred in 801–870, 1031–1230, 1481–1530 and 1581–1650 over whole eastern China. On regional scale, more extreme droughts occurred in 1031–1100, 1441–1490, 1601–1650 and 1831–1880 in North China, 801–870, 1031–1120, 1161–1220 and 1471–1530 in Jianghuai, 991–1040, 1091–1150, 1171–1230, 1411–1470 and 1481–1530 in Jiangnan. The grain harvest was poor in periods of 801–940, 1251–1650 and 1841 to 1910, but bumper in periods of 951–1250 and 1651–1840 approximately. For entire period of 801–1910, more occurrence of extreme drought in any sub–region of eastern China could significantly reduce harvest in the long term average, but the connection between harvest and extreme flood seemed to be much weaker. The co–occurrence of extreme drought and extreme flood in different sub–regions in the same year had a greater impact on harvest yield. However, the connection between the occurrence of poor harvest and regional extreme drought was weak in the warm epoch of 920–1300 but strong in the cold epoch of 1310–1880, which implicated warm climate might weaken the impact of extreme drought on poor harvest during historical times.

Zhixin Hao et al.
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Short summary
Due to the data limitation, the long-term impacts of climate change on crop harvest did not get more attention, in particularly before the 1950s. However, the rain fed agriculture was dominated during the historical time, and no more technique intervention, thus it has true statistics significance when we discuss the Extreme droughts/floods and their impacts on harvest for the past 1000 years.
Due to the data limitation, the long-term impacts of climate change on crop harvest did not get...
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