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The Consequences of Nighttime Warming for Winter Wheat Yields

Paper Reviewed
Chen, J., Tian, Y., Zhang, X., Zheng, C., Song, Z., Deng, A. and Zhang, W. 2014. Nighttime warming will increase winter wheat yield through improving plant development and grain growth in North China. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation 33: 397-407.

In a paper published in the Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, Chen et al. (2014) note that "many observations have demonstrated that air temperature increases are due mainly to nighttime warming during the winter-spring seasons," citing Easterling et al. (1997), while the studies of Karl et al. (1984, 1991) demonstrate that the global warming of Earth's recent past was characterized by daily minimum temperatures rising three times more than daily maximum temperatures the world over. And in light of these facts, the seven scientists decided to conduct a 3-year study of two cultivars (Yangfu 188 and Aikang 58) of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in a passive nighttime warming facility (Zeiher et al., 1994; Beier et al., 2004) operated so as to mimic the predicted increase in daily minimum temperature in North China between now and 2050 (1.1°C), which warming has been claimed by the world's climate alarmists to be set to begin again (after its still-ongoing 18-year hiatus) real soon.

As for what the team of Chinese researchers learned over the course of their study, they say the increase in nighttime temperature (1) "extended the duration of grain filling," (2) "promoted the filling rates of the superior and inferior grains," which (3) "resulted in a significant increase in the 1,000-grain weight by 6.3%," that (4 and 5) "significantly increased wheat aboveground biomass and grain yield by 12.3 and 12.0%, respectively."

In light of these findings, Chen et al. conclude that "wheat production in North China may benefit from predicted climatic warming." And it should be noted that winter wheat yields there should also be benefited by the increase in the air's CO2 content that climate alarmists claim is promoting that warming; for Yang et al. (2014) have recently demonstrated that a 310-ppm increase in the air's CO2 concentration would increase the winter wheat yield in the North China Plain by 24.8 and 43.1% in irrigated and rain-fed fields, respectively.

Beier, C., Emmett, B., Gundersen, P., Tietema, A., Penuelas, J., Estiarte, M., Gordon, C., Gorissen, A., Llorens, L., Roda, F. and Williams, D. 2004. Novel approaches to study climate change effects on terrestrial ecosystems in the field: drought and passive nighttime warming. Ecosystems 7: 583-597.

Easterling, D.R., Horton, B., Jones, P.D., Peterson, T.C., Karl, T.R., Parker, D.E., Salinger, M.J., Razuvayev, V., Plummer, N., Jamason, P. and Folland, C.K. 1997. Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe. Science 277: 364-367.

Karl, T.R., Jones, P.D., Knight, R.W., Kukla, G., Plummer, N., Razuvayev, V., Gallo, K.P., Lindseay, J., Charlson, R.J. and Peterson, T.C. 1984. A new perspective on recent global warming: asymmetric trends of daily maximum and minimum temperature. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 74: 1007-1023.

Karl, T.R., Kukla, G., Razuvayev, N., Changery, M.J., Quayle, R.G., Heim, R.R., Easterling, D.R. and Fu, C.B. 1991. Global warming - evidence for asymmetric diurnal temperature-change. Geophysical Research Letters 18: 2253-2256.

Yang, P., Wu, W., Li, Z., Yu, Q., Inatsu, M., Liu, Z., Tang, P., Zha, Y., Kimoto, M. and Tang, H. 2014. Simulated impact of elevated CO2, temperature, and precipitation on the winter wheat yield in North China Plain. Regional Environmental Change 14: 61-74.

Zeiher, C.A., Brown, P.W., Silvertooth, J.C., Matumba, N. and Mitton, N. 1994. The Effect of Night Temperature on Cotton Reproductive Development. College of Agriculture, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Posted 13 January 2015