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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-8
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2019-8
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Mar 2019

Research article | 06 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

A multi-model analysis of teleconnected crop yield variability in a range of cropping systems

Matias Heino1, Joseph H. A. Guillaume1, Christoph Müller2, Toshichika Iizumi3, and Matti Kummu1 Matias Heino et al.
  • 1Water and Development Research Group, Aalto University, Finland. Tietotie 1E, 02150 Espoo, Finland
  • 2Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Member of the Leibniz Association, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, 3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba, 305-8604 Japan

Abstract. Climate oscillations are periodically fluctuating oceanic and atmospheric phenomena, which are related to variations in weather patterns and crop yields worldwide. In terms of crop production, the most widespread impacts have been observed for the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which has been found to impact crop yields in all continents that produce crops, while two other climate oscillations – the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) – have been shown to impact crop production especially in Australia and Europe, respectively. In this study, we analyse the impacts of ENSO, IOD and NAO on the growing conditions of maize, rice, soybean and wheat at the global scale, by utilizing crop yield data from an ensemble of global gridded crop models simulated for a range of crop management scenarios. Our results show that simulated crop yield variability is correlated to climate oscillations to a wide extent (up to almost half of all maize and wheat harvested areas for ENSO) and in several important crop producing areas, e.g. in North America (ENSO, wheat), Australia (IOD & ENSO, wheat) and northern South America (ENSO, soybean). Further, our analyses show that higher sensitivity to these oscillations can be observed for rainfed, and fully fertilized scenarios, while the sensitivity tends to be lower if crops are fully irrigated. Since, the development of ENSO, IOD and NAO can be reliably forecasted in advance, a better understanding about the relationship between crop production and these climate oscillations can improve the resilience of the global food system to climate related shocks.

Matias Heino et al.
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Short summary
In this study, we analyse the impacts of three major climate oscillations on global crop production. Our results show that maize, rice, soybean and wheat yields are influenced by climate oscillations to a wide extent and in several important crop producing regions. We observe larger impacts if crops are rainfed, or fully fertilized, while irrigation tends to mitigate the impacts. These results can potentially help to increase the resilience of the global food system to climate related shocks.
In this study, we analyse the impacts of three major climate oscillations on global crop...
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