The North China Plain (NCP) is one of the most important agricultural regions in Asia and produces up to 50% of the cereal consumed in China each year1,2. To meet increasing food demands without expanding croplands, annual agricultural practice in much of the NCP has changed from single to double cropping3,4. The impact of double cropping on the regional climate, through biophysical feedbacks caused by changes in land surface conditions, remains largely unknown. Here we show that observed surface air temperatures during the inter-cropping season (June and July) are 0.40 °C higher over double cropping regions (DCRs) than over single cropping regions (SCRs), with increases in the daily maximum temperature as large as 1.02 °C. Using regional climate modelling, we attribute the higher temperatures in DCRs to reduced evapotranspiration during the inter-cropping period. The higher surface temperatures in June and July affect low-level circulation and, in turn, rainfall associated with the East Asian monsoon over the NCP and neighbouring countries. These findings suggest that double cropping in the NCP can amplify the magnitude of summertime climate changes over East Asia.