Assessing the climate related risk to agriculture in China for global food security

Agriculture is an essential component of the Chinese economy and the wellbeing of its citizens. Given the global nature of food imports and exports, being able to quantify the risks to agriculture from climate variability and change has huge socio-economic benefits both within China and worldwide.

There is a need for the provision of food security climate information to help inform long-term planning in agricultural investment at provincial, regional or national scales and help ensure the stability of the food system in China. Its development is one of the focuses of the Climate Science for Services Partnership (CSSP) China project.

Working in collaboration, scientists from the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), the Chinese Academy for Agricultural Science (CAAS) and the UK Met Office have developed a range of potential climate services for decision-makers in this sector. Engagement with users has informed the science questions to help ensure the climate information provided is relevant and useful. As a result, a range of adaptive tools have been developed which can be applied to specific regions, crops, and hazards of interest.

One example is the use of an innovative new method of simulating extreme weather events showing there is a 6% chance that maize crops could fail in both China and USA at the same time in the next decade. With these regions accounting for 60% of global production, such a failure would lead to supplies falling and prices rising, a potential global problem.

A prototype climate service is now being developed; providing an assessment of climate risk to agriculture in the northeast farming region. This will be done working closely with experts and decision-makers in the region to test and review the results. It is hoped this will provide supporting evidence to policy-makers or other end-users, informing short and long term planning in agricultural investment for decision makers at the provincial, regional or national scale in China. This has the potential to help ensure the stability of the food system in China, and other major agricultural regions around the world, in the face of climate change.

Read more about the CSSP China project.

This is an extract from a case study produced by the Met Office. Read the full case study.
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