Abstract

Conceptualizing the climate change perspective of crop growth and evapotranspiration (ETc) rates and subsequent irrigation water requirements (IWR) is necessary for sustaining the agriculture sector and tackling food security issues in Pakistan. This article projects the future growth periods and water demands for the wheat-rice system of Punjab. Intense and hotter transitions in the future thermal regimes and erratic monsoon rainfall increments were envisaged. The crop growth rates were accelerated by the probable temperature rise resulting in shortened growth periods. The temperature rise increased the reference evapotranspiration rates; however, the future ETc declined due to reduced growth period and net radiation. Highly unpredictable, but mostly increasing, cumulative seasonal and annual rainfalls were indicative of more effective rainfalls during the future crop seasons. Reduced ETc and increments in seasonal effective rainfalls gave rise to the declining IWR for both crops. The study findings seemingly undermined the harmful climate change influences on the water requirements of the wheat-rice system of Punjab but alarmingly shortening of growth periods indicates a higher crop failure tendency under the projected future thermal regime.

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