Drought stress impacts of climate change on rainfed rice in South Asia
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Rice production is threatened by climate change and the productivity of rainfed rice is increasingly challenged. A better understanding of the future trends of rice production associated with climate change is important for improving food security. Rice production under irrigated and rainfed conditions was simulated using the rice crop model ORYZA2000. Simulated rice yield representing crop and environment interaction was used to evaluate the drought impact of climate change on rainfed rice in South Asia. If rainfed rice system was applied in all current rice cultivating areas in South Asia, drought stress could result to yield losses of more than 80 in 22 %, but crop failure was lower than 40 in 73 % of the areas under mild and severe SRES A1B and A2. The spatial patterns of drought stress on rainfed rice were similar under both A1B and A2, and the yield loss and crop failure decreased slightly in the far future (2045 to 2074) in areas where drought risk was high in the near future (2015 to 2044), but the impacts would gradually increase over initially low-impact areas. Both A1B and A2 would shift the best sowing season of rainfed rice to be earlier or later by up to 90 days in 30 years. Appropriate adjustment of sowing season is a major adaptation strategy for rainfed rice production in South Asia to benefit from climate change. In this case, rainfed rice yield could potentially increase by about 10 % in most areas of South Asia associated with 10 to 50 % lower inter-annual variation and slightly higher risk for crop failure.
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