Using province-level yield data and daily weather data from 1980 to 2012, we investigated the responses of early rice, middle-season rice, and late rice yields to weather variations in China. In contrast to prior studies that found negative impacts of elevated daily minimum temperature (Tmin) on rice yield in tropical and subtropical regions, we discovered that rising Tmin increased early and late rice yields in China, with the positive temperature effects varying by rice-growth stage. Consistent with the previous assessments, we found that precipitation had small but negative effects on early and late rice yields. Responses of middle-season rice yield to variations in Tmin and precipitation are statistically insignificant. The effect of radiation on rice yields also differed by rice variety and rice-growth stage. Our findings provide useful information for developing effective rice-breeding programs and climate adaptation strategies in China.
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