Basin-wide impacts of climate change on ecosystem services in the Lower Mekong Basin
According to hydrological simulations by the Mekong River Commission, average annual flow of the Mekong will not change significantly despite climate change. However, they projected increased variability in wet and dry season flows, which will tend to increase the flood and drought risks to crops. To learn the implications of climate change for rice farming in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB), a lower part of the Basin from China-Lao PDR border to the South China Sea, climate and hydrological figures related to rice production were compared in between the baseline in 1985–2000 and the climate change scenario in 2010–2050. Special attention was given to their 10 and 90 % exceedance values, which are rough equivalence of 10 and 90 % cumulative probabilities, to see changes in the frequency and extent of extreme weather events. Major findings of this study include the followings: (1) evapo-transpirations will increase in both average and 90 % cumulative probability values, raising irrigation demand. (2) Deviation of the annual rainfall will become larger, causing water shortage in reservoirs more frequently in the future. (3) The transplanting date of rain-fed rice will be delayed more likely due to insufficient precipitation in the early wet season, which may result in decreasing rice production. (4) Longer dry spells will be observed during the wet season, raising the drought risk to rain-fed rice. (5) These changes will be generally observed across the LMB, while the extent of the changes varies among regions.