1State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information Systems, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
2The University of Adelaide Business School, Adelaide, Australia.
Maize is one of the major crops in China and its yield potential has been changed significantly by climate change induction during last five decades. The national policy of maize production sufficiency emphasizes the necessity for a more accurate estimation of yield potential of maize at a national level. In this paper yield potential of maize was calculated using the Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ) model and key meteorological factors impact on yield potential across China was also analyzed. The results shows that, total yield potential of maize increased by 0.15 million tons/year during the past five decades due to an increase in cultivated area as a result of climate change impact. The partial correlation analysis between main meteorological factors and yield potential of maize at a county level showed that 47% of the counties of China were predominately influenced by changes in solar radiation while 16% of counties were predominately affected by temperature changes. In addition, each agricultural zone showed clear spatial difference in the distribution of key impact factors. These research findings will not only provide scientific basis for making good use of meteorological resources under climate change, but also play a vital role for the management of national maize production for food security.