A physical model was developed for describing the thermal environment of ponded shallow water as a model for rice fields in relation to climatic conditions. The model was used to assess probable effects of CO2-induced warming on the thermal conditions of ponded shallow water. It was assumed that an altered equilibrium climate was produced by atmospheric CO2 which was twice that of present levels. The 1951-80 climatic means of Japan were used as baseline data. Water temperature and energy balance characteristics predicted from the model were compared between both climates. The most notable results were that water temperature under CO2 doubling rose 2 to 4 °C. These increases in temperature would induce a remarkable northward shift of the 15 °C isotherm which characterizes the isochrone of safe transplanting dates for rice seedlings. CO2-warming would have a considerable influence on the energy balance characteristics, intensifying the evaporation rate from the water surface. Changes in thermal conditions of rice fields due to CO2-induced climatic warming are, therefore, expected to bring about significant effects on aquatic environments and the life forms they support.
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