Toward a combined seasonal weather and crop productivity forecasting system: Determination of the working spatial scale
Challinor, A. J., Slingo, J. M., Wheeler, T. R., Craufurd, P. Q. and Grimes, D. I. F. (2003) Toward a combined seasonal weather and crop productivity forecasting system: Determination of the working spatial scale. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 42 (2). pp. 175-192. ISSN 0894-8763
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A methodology is presented for the development of a combined seasonal weather and crop productivity forecasting system. The first stage of the methodology is the determination of the spatial scale(s) on which the system could operate; this determination has been made for the case of groundnut production in India. Rainfall is a dominant climatic determinant of groundnut yield in India. The relationship between yield and rainfall has been explored using data from 1966 to 1995. On the all-India scale, seasonal rainfall explains 52% of the variance in yield. On the subdivisional scale, correlations vary between variance r(2) = 0.62 (significance level p < 10(-4)) and a negative correlation with r(2) = 0.1 (p = 0.13). The spatial structure of the relationship between rainfall and groundnut yield has been explored using empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. A coherent, large-scale pattern emerges for both rainfall and yield. On the subdivisional scale (similar to 300 km), the first principal component (PC) of rainfall is correlated well with the first PC of yield (r(2) = 0.53, p < 10(-4)), demonstrating that the large-scale patterns picked out by the EOFs are related. The physical significance of this result is demonstrated. Use of larger averaging areas for the EOF analysis resulted in lower and (over time) less robust correlations. Because of this loss of detail when using larger spatial scales, the subdivisional scale is suggested as an upper limit on the spatial scale for the proposed forecasting system. Further, district-level EOFs of the yield data demonstrate the validity of upscaling these data to the subdivisional scale. Similar patterns have been produced using data on both of these scales, and the first PCs are very highly correlated (r(2) = 0.96). Hence, a working spatial scale has been identified, typical of that used in seasonal weather forecasting, that can form the basis of crop modeling work for the case of groundnut production in India. Last, the change in correlation between yield and seasonal rainfall during the study period has been examined using seasonal totals and monthly EOFs. A further link between yield and subseasonal variability is demonstrated via analysis of dynamical data.