Estimation of the virtual water content of main crops on the Korean Peninsula using multiple regional climate models and evapotranspiration methods

Chul Hee Lim, Seung Hee Kim, Yuyoung Choi, Menas C. Kafatos, Woo-Kyun Lee

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Sustainable agriculture in the era of climate change needs to find solutions for the retentionand proper utilization of water. This study proposes an ensemble approach for identifying thevirtual water content (VWC) of main crops on the Korean Peninsula in past and future climates. Ensemble results with low uncertainty were obtained using three regional climate models, fivepotential evapotranspiration methods, and the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) cropmodel. The productivity results of major crops (rice and maize) under climate change are likely toincrease more than in the past based on the ensemble results. The ensemble VWC is calculated usingthree types of crop yields and fifteen consumptive amounts of water use in the past and the future. While the ensemble VWC of rice and maize was 1.18 m3 kg-1 and 0.58 m3 kg-1, respectively, in thepast, the future amounts were estimated at 0.76 m3 kg-1 and 0.48 m3 kg-1, respectively. The yieldsof both crops showed a decline in future projections, indicating that this change could have a positiveimpact on future water demand. The positive changes in crop productivity and water consumptiondue to climate change suggest that adaptation to climate change can be an opportunity for enhancingsustainability as well as for minimizing agricultural damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1172
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 4



  • Crop yield
  • Ensemble result
  • PET methods
  • Regional climate models
  • Virtual water content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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