Online citations, reference lists, and bibliographies.
← Back to Search

Demographic Impact Of Climate Change On Northwestern China In The Late Imperial Era

Harry F. Lee, D. Zhang, Qing Pei, Xin Jia, R. P. Yue
Published 2016 · Geography

Save to my Library
Download PDF
Analyze on Scholarcy Visualize in Litmaps
Share
Reduce the time it takes to create your bibliography by a factor of 10 by using the world’s favourite reference manager
Time to take this seriously.
Get Citationsy
A growing body of quantitative (large-N) studies examines the climate–man nexus in historical agrarian China. Their dominant approach is to take the whole of China as a spatial aggregate, without taking into account the role of regional context. Furthermore, quantitative investigations of the climate–man nexus in northwestern (NW) China remain scarce. This study seeks to address the above issues. We focused on the extent to which periodic fluctuation of precipitation and temperature affected positive checks (famine, epidemics, nomadic invasion, and rebellion) and subsequently population growth dynamics in Sha'anxi, Gansu, and Ningxia, NW China in AD 1500–1911. Multiple Wavelet Coherence and Partial Wavelet Coherence analyses were applied to handle the non-linear and non-stationary nature of the climate–man nexus. Our results show that drought was the common stressor of various positive checks in NW China at the multi-decadal (32–64 year) time-scale. In addition, there was a coherence break of the relationship in AD 1700–1820, owing to the tremendous increase of subsistence brought about by land reclamation policy and the introduction of foreign food crops. Yet, the coherence resumed afterwards, resulting in more disastrous demographic consequences. We highlighted that the climate–man nexus is not entirely deterministic in nature, even in environmentally-fragile NW China. The relationship is mediated by social factors, particularly government policies. Still, if those measures are made at the expense of the environment, although humans might be able to win over nature in the short-term, the final outcome could be catastrophic in the long-term. This study substantiates the above notion with empirical quantitative evidence.
This paper references
10.2307/214294
Physical geography of China
Songqiao Zhao (1986)
10.2307/1973349
Long-term fluctuations in climate and population in the preindustrial era.
P. R. Galloway (1986)
10.1007/BF00142964
Relationship between climatic change and the nomadic southward migrations in eastern Asia during historical times
Jin-qi Fang (1992)
10.2307/2659307
Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching
A. Embree (1995)
10.1596/0-8213-3943-5
Investing in Pastoralism: Sustainable Natural Resource Use in Arid Africa and the Middle East
D. Pratt (1997)
10.1007/BF02877737
Sun, climate, hunger, and mass migration
K. J. Hsu (1998)
10.1175/1520-0477(1998)079<0061:APGTWA>2.0.CO;2
A Practical Guide to Wavelet Analysis.
C. Torrence (1998)
10.2307/2667635
Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching. Ainslie T. Embree , Carol Gluck
C. Mackerras (1999)
10.4324/9781912281176
Essay on the Principle of Population
T. Malthus (2001)
COMPARISON BETWEEN HOLOCENE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES IN NORTH CHINA AGRO-PASTORAL ZONE AND AFRICA SAHELIAN BELT
Shi Pei-jun (2002)
Analyzing social science data
D. Vaus (2002)
Climatic and Humanistic Background of Desertification Process in the Recent 2000 Years in Hexi Corridor, China
Wang Nai (2003)
10.1080/14693062.2004.9685508
Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
S. Huq (2004)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2004.02.002
Climate change, communities, and civilizations: driving force, supporting player, or background noise?
N. Catto (2004)
10.5194/NPG-11-561-2004
Application of the cross wavelet transform and wavelet coherence to geophysical time series
A. Grinsted (2004)
10.1111/J.1475-4762.2005.00634.X
Environmental determinism in Holocene research: causality or coincidence?
P. Coombes (2005)
10.1007/BF02897517
Climate change, social unrest and dynastic transition in ancient China
D. Zhang (2005)
10.1016/J.AGSY.2004.05.004
Impact of resources and technology on farm production in northwestern China
X. Deng (2005)
10.1007/S11462-006-0006-0
Agricultural reclamation policy and environmental changes in the northwest China during the Qing dynasty
Zhao Zhen (2006)
10.1007/S10584-005-9024-Z
Climatic Change, Wars and Dynastic Cycles in China Over the Last Millennium
D. Zhang (2006)
10.1098/rsif.2007.0212
Time-dependent spectral analysis of epidemiological time-series with wavelets
B. Cazelles (2007)
10.1007/S10745-007-9115-8
Climate Change and War Frequency in Eastern China over the Last Millennium
D. Zhang (2007)
10.1073/pnas.0703073104
Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history
D. Zhang (2007)
10.1016/J.JASTP.2008.01.002
The Medieval and Modern Maximum solar activity imprints in tree ring data from Chile and stable isotope records from Antarctica and Peru
N. Rigozo (2008)
10.1007/s00442-008-0993-2
Wavelet analysis of ecological time series
B. Cazelles (2008)
10.1007/S10584-007-9329-1
Climatic change and Chinese population growth dynamics over the last millennium
Harry F. Lee (2008)
10.3354/CR00816
Temperature, aridity thresholds, and population growth dynamics in China over the last millennium
Harry F. Lee (2009)
Climate Change, Food Shortage and War: A Quantitative Case Study in China during 1500 – 1800
D. Zhang (2010)
10.1098/rspb.2010.0890
Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900
Zhibin Zhang (2010)
10.3354/CR00913
Changes in climate and secular population cycles in China, 1000 CE to 1911
Harry F. Lee (2010)
10.1007/S10584-009-9702-3
Climatic change and dynastic cycles in Chinese history: a review essay
K. Fan (2010)
10.3354/CR00858
Natural disasters in northwestern China, AD 1270-1949
Harry F. Lee (2010)
Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief (1)
K. B. Penuel (2010)
10.1073/pnas.1104268108
The causality analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis
D. Zhang (2011)
10.1016/J.ECOLECON.2010.02.010
Can economic, land use and climatic stresses lead to famine, disease, warfare and death? Using Europe's calamitous 14th century as a parable for the modern age
E. Fraser (2011)
10.1016/J.JARIDENV.2011.06.008
Relationship between NAO and drought disasters in northwestern China in the last millennium
Harry F. Lee (2011)
10.1162/REST_a_00106
Climate Shocks and Sino-nomadic Conflict
Ying Bai (2011)
10.1111/J.1466-8238.2010.00625.X
Climate change and large-scale human population collapses in the pre-industrial era
D. Zhang (2011)
10.1080/10225706.2012.742615
Temperature change and natural disasters in northwestern China
Harry F. Lee (2012)
10.1007/s10584-012-0490-9
A tale of two population crises in recent Chinese history
Harry F. Lee (2012)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2011.06.046
Land degradation during the Bronze Age in Hexi Corridor (Gansu, China)
Zhou Xinying (2012)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2012.05.006
Human settlement and human–environment interactions during the historical period in Zhuanglang County, western Loess Plateau, China
G. Dong (2012)
10.1175/JTECH-D-12-00056.1
Geophysical Applications of Partial Wavelet Coherence and Multiple Wavelet Coherence
Eric K. W. Ng (2012)
10.1016/j.yqres.2011.10.004
Mid-Holocene climate change and its effect on prehistoric cultural evolution in eastern Qinghai Province, China
G. Dong (2012)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2013.06.035
Impact of agriculture on an oasis landscape during the late Holocene: Palynological evidence from the Xintala site in Xinjiang, NW China
Keliang Zhao (2013)
10.1016/J.QUASCIREV.2013.08.017
Late Holocene coupled moisture and temperature changes on the northern Tibetan Plateau
Yuxin He (2013)
10.3354/CR01129
Positive correlation between the North Atlantic Oscillation and violent conflicts in Europe
Harry F. Lee (2013)
10.1126/science.1235367
Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict
S. Hsiang (2013)
10.1371/journal.pone.0057638
Multi-Proxy Temperature Reconstruction from the West Qinling Mountains, China, for the Past 500 Years
Fengmei Yang (2013)
10.3354/CR01145
Short- and long-term impacts of climate variations on the agrarian economy in pre-industrial Europe
Qing Pei (2013)
10.1177/0959683612450203
The development of agriculture and its impact on cultural expansion during the late Neolithic in the Western Loess Plateau, China
Xin Jia (2013)
10.1016/J.JDEVECO.2014.08.006
Can Cultural Norms Reduce Conflicts? Confucianism and Peasant Rebellions in
J. Kung (2013)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2013.07.038
The spatiotemporal pattern of the Majiayao cultural evolution and its relation to climate change and variety of subsistence strategy during late Neolithic period in Gansu and Qinghai Provinces, northwest China
G. Dong (2013)
10.1016/J.JAS.2012.10.002
Spatial and temporal variety of prehistoric human settlement and its influencing factors in the upper Yellow River valley, Qinghai Province, China
G. Dong (2013)
10.1007/s11430-013-4795-y
Impact of climate change on fluctuations of grain harvests in China from the Western Han Dynasty to the Five Dynasties (206 BC–960 AD)
Yun Su (2014)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2014.04.007
Plant use activities during the Upper Paleolithic in East Eurasia: Evidence from the Shuidonggou Site, Northwest China
Y. Guan (2014)
10.1007/s10584-014-1244-7
How climate change impacted the collapse of the Ming dynasty
Jingyun Zheng (2014)
10.5751/ES-06528-190268
Long-term relationship between climate change and nomadic migration in historical China
Qing Pei (2014)
10.1177/0959683614551224
Climate change and fiscal balance in China over the past two millennia
Zhudeng Wei (2014)
10.1111/ecoj.12037
Weather Shocks, Sweet Potatoes and Peasant Revolts in Historical China
Ruixue Jia (2014)
10.3354/CR01215
Climate-induced agricultural shrinkage and overpopulation in late imperial China
Harry F. Lee (2014)
10.1177/0959683615596839
Solar imprints on Asian inland moisture fluctuations over the last millennium
Mu-Yeong Song (2014)
10.1007/s10113-014-0745-2
A preliminary analysis of economic fluctuations and climate changes in China from BC 220 to AD 1910
Zhudeng Wei (2014)
10.1371/journal.pone.0088155
Climate Change and Macro-Economic Cycles in Pre-Industrial Europe
Qing Pei (2014)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2014.09.037
Relationships between temperature change and grain harvest fluctuations in China from 210 BC to 1910 AD
Jun Yin (2015)
10.1177/0959683615572851
Famine, migration and war: Comparison of climate change impacts and social responses in North China between the late Ming and late Qing dynasties
Lingbo Xiao (2015)
10.1111/GEB.12247
The pulse of imperial China: a quantitative analysis of long‐term geopolitical and climatic cycles
D. Zhang (2015)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2014.09.034
Discovery of a tiger (Panthera tigris (L.)) skeleton from the Little Ice Age buried on the shore of Qinghai Lake, northeast Tibet Plateau
Lele Ren (2015)
10.1016/j.yqres.2014.11.001
Macro-Economic Cycles Related to Climate change in Dynastic China
Zhudeng Wei (2015)
10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.05.010
Epidemics in Ming and Qing China: Impacts of changes of climate and economic well-being.
Qing Pei (2015)
10.1371/journal.pone.0126480
Climate Change and the Macroeconomic Structure in Pre-Industrial Europe: New Evidence from Wavelet Analysis
Qing Pei (2015)
10.1177/0959683615581203
Reconstruction of the geographic extent of drought anomalies in northwestern China over the last 539 years and its teleconnection with the Pacific Ocean
Harry F. Lee (2015)
10.1371/journal.pone.0131693
Quantifying the Intra-Regional Precipitation Variability in Northwestern China over the Past 1,400 Years
Harry F. Lee (2015)
10.1007/978-94-017-9205-9_14
Quantitative Analysis of Climate Change and Human Crises in History
Harry F. Lee (2015)
10.1111/ecca.12114
Climate Shocks, State Capacity and Peasant Uprisings in North China During 25–1911 CE
Q. Chen (2015)
Regional Geographic Factors Mediate the Climate-war Relationship in Europe
Harry F. Lee (2015)
10.1016/J.JASREP.2016.03.036
How humans inhabited the Northeastern Tibetan Plateau during the Little Ice Age: A case study at Hualong County, Qinghai Province, China
Xin Jia (2016)
10.1177/0959683615618262
The transition of human subsistence strategies in relation to climate change during the Bronze Age in the West Liao River Basin, Northeast China
Xin Jia (2016)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2016.01.011
Human-environment interactions within the West Liao River Basin in Northeastern China during the Holocene Optimum
Xin Jia (2016)
10.1088/1748-9326/11/6/064008
Temperature and precipitation effects on agrarian economy in late imperial China
Qing Pei (2016)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2016.04.021
Rapid agricultural transformation in the prehistoric Hexi corridor, China
Zhou Xinying (2016)
10.1007/s11769-016-0817-y
Downscaling and disaggregating NAO-conflict nexus in pre-industrial Europe
Harry F. Lee (2016)
10.1016/J.QUAINT.2015.12.007
Contextualizing human migration in different agro-ecological zones in ancient China
Qing Pei (2016)
10.1007/s11707-016-0572-5
Spatial and temporal variations in prehistoric human settlement and their influencing factors on the south bank of the Xar Moron River, Northeastern China
Xin Jia (2017)



This paper is referenced by
10.1007/s10584-021-02978-5
Social impacts of extreme drought event in Guanzhong area, Shaanxi Province, during 1928–1931
Xudong Chen (2021)
10.1038/s41586-021-03190-2
Towards a rigorous understanding of societal responses to climate change.
Dagomar Degroot (2021)
10.1088/1748-9326/abfc08
Climate-induced stressors to peace: a review of recent literature
Ayyoob Sharifi (2021)
10.1007/s10584-021-03042-y
Spatiotemporal shifts of population and war under climate change in imperial China
Shengda Zhang (2021)
10.1007/s00704-020-03247-8
Potential linkages of precipitation extremes in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, China, with large-scale climate patterns using wavelet-based approaches
Xiaomeng Song (2020)
10.1007/s10584-019-02652-x
Secular temperature variations and the spatial disparities of war in historical China
Shengda Zhang (2020)
10.1080/10225706.2020.1768571
Historical climate-war nexus in the eyes of geographers
Harry F. Lee (2020)
10.1002/jqs.3232
Ocean/atmosphere interaction and Malthusian catastrophes on the northern fringe of the Asian summer monsoon region in China, 1368–1911
Harry F. Lee (2020)
10.3390/atmos11040388
Examining the Direct and Indirect Effects of Climatic Variables on Plague Dynamics
R. P. Yue (2020)
10.3390/atmos11040378
Climate Change and the Pattern of the Hot Spots of War in Ancient China
Shengda Zhang (2020)
10.1080/10225706.2019.1678046
Effect of temperature and precipitation change on crime in the metropolitan area in Virginia, USA
Connor Y H Wu (2020)
10.1007/s11430-018-9323-3
Relationships between climate change, agricultural development and social stability in the Hexi Corridor over the last 2000 years
Y. Li (2019)
10.1080/10225706.2018.1544085
Climate change, population pressure, and wars in European history
H. F. Lee (2019)
10.1007/s10113-019-01572-x
Cannibalism in northern China between 1470 and 1911
Harry F. Lee (2019)
10.1007/s11430-018-9340-7
Population-influenced spatiotemporal pattern of natural disaster and social crisis in China, AD1–1910
S. Zhang (2019)
10.1007/978-3-030-16870-4_10
Lessons: Factors Driving the Rise and Fall of Dynasties
E. Anderson (2019)
10.1080/10225706.2018.1504807
Measuring the effect of climate change on wars in history
H. F. Lee (2018)
10.1177/0959683618761549
Internal wars in history: Triggered by natural disasters or socio-ecological catastrophes?
H. F. Lee (2018)
10.1186/s12879-018-3045-5
Pre-industrial plague transmission is mediated by the synergistic effect of temperature and aridity index
R. P. H. Yue (2018)
10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.12.020
Climate change and epidemics in Chinese history: A multi-scalar analysis.
Harry F. Lee (2017)
10.1007/s11430-017-9084-0
Quantitative analysis of the impact of droughts and floods on internal wars in China over the last 500 years
H. F. Lee (2017)
THE INFLUENCE OF CULTURE AND RELIGION ON CHINESE MUSLIMS LIFE: AN OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION FOR MUSLIM WOMEN IN CHINA
Zhang Wenhong (2016)
Semantic Scholar Logo Some data provided by SemanticScholar