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Advances in Earth Science  2014, Vol. 29 Issue (3): 336-343    DOI: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2014.03.0336
Orginal Article     
A Review of Climatic Impacts on Chinese Socio-economic Development over the Past 2000 Years
Wei Zhudeng1, Fang Xiuqi1, 2, Su Yun1, Xiao Lingbo2
1. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
2. Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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It is one of the important focuses of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) to investigate the long-term impacts of climate change on regional social and economic development over the past two millenniums. The past decades in China have witnessed great progresses in the study of past climatic influence on human society. In this paper, reviews have been made on the latest proceedings related with researches about the past 2000-year climatic impacts on Chinese history in terms of the following three aspects: economic fluctuations, social stability, and the rise and fall of dynasties in China. It is concluded that climate change and socio-economic fluctuation in historical China really temporarily demonstrated a good coincidence, which indicates a potential driving-response mechanism was likely embedded in the complicated relationship between climate change and human society. A warm climate provided relatively stable conditions of agricultural production and thus generally played a positive role in the healthy development of the economy and society. On the contrary, socio-economic adverseness triggered by a colder climate was preconditioned with social problems such as the intensification of the contradiction between people and land, as well as the gradual accumulation of social rigidity. These social problems accompanying with social development contributed higher vulnerability of society in the face of changing climate, which to some extent might amplify the effects of climatic deterioration. The authors emphasize that the future studies of the relationship between past climate change and human history in China should attach more attention to the following key problems: making deeper exploitation of the potential of Chinese historical documents, exploring the mechanism of climate-society interaction, and studying the differences of climatic effects on socio-economic development at the regional scale. This study from a historical perspective might enhance the understanding of human-environment relationship under a situation of global warming, and also provide the scientific basis for the sustainable social development in China.

Key words:  China      Climate change      Socio-economic impacts      Response     
Received:  10 October 2013      Published:  10 March 2014
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Wei Zhudeng
Su Yun
Fang Xiuqi
Xiao Lingbo

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Wei Zhudeng, Fang Xiuqi, Su Yun, Xiao Lingbo. A Review of Climatic Impacts on Chinese Socio-economic Development over the Past 2000 Years. Advances in Earth Science, 2014, 29(3): 336-343.

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