Temperature, aridity thresholds, and population growth dynamics in China over the last millennium

Harry F. LEE, David D. ZHANG, Lincoln FOK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The relationship between climate and population has long been discussed, but rarely has it been quantitatively measured. Hence, the relationship remains ambiguous. In the present study, we employ fine-grained temperature, aridity threshold, and population data, together with logistic models and spatial statistics, to quantitatively explore how far climate change affected population growth dynamics in China from 1000 to 1979. Statistical results confirm that cold climate was associated with below average population growth, mediated by regional geographic contexts. In addition, cold climate triggered a southward shift of populations. In short, the climate–population relationship was evident in historical China, and temperature was more influential than the aridity threshold in explaining the fluctuation of population size and shifts in population distribution. The strong influence of temperature change on northward and southward population shifts and the weak influence of the change in the aridity threshold on population growth dynamics are further discussed. The observed temperature–population relationship may give some indication of future demographic effects from climate warming. Copyright © 2009 Inter-Research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-147
JournalClimate Research
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

Citation

Lee, H. F., Zhang, D. D. & Lincoln, F. (2009). Temperature, aridity thresholds, and population growth dynamics in China over the last millennium. Climate Research, 39(2), 131-147. doi: 10.3354/cr00816

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Temperature
  • Aridity threshold
  • Population dynamics
  • Land carrying capacity
  • China

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