Potgieter, Andries B. and Hammer, Graeme L. and Meinke, Holger and Stone, Roger C. and Goddard, Lisa (2003) El Nino through the 'eyes' of a wheat crop. In: National Drought Forum 2003: Science for Drought , 15-16 Apr 2003, Brisbane, Australia.
The EI Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon significantly impacts rainfall and ensuing crop yields in many parts of the world, including Australia. Therefore, it is by far the most studied climate phenomenon during the past decade. In this paper we sought to investigate the spatial impact of the warm phase of ENSO (Le. EI Nino) on Australian shire wheat yields. Simulated shire wheat yields during the 20th century were created using a simple agro-climatic model for all main wheat production shires in Australia. Using traditional multivariate statistical analysis approach we identified three distinct shire wheat yield patterns during EI Nino years. These wheat yield patterns or 'footprints' differ in their extent and magnitude across the Australian wheat-belt. Footprint 1 impacted the southern and eastern wheat-growing region of Australia, Footprint 2 mainly impacted north-eastern wheat producing shires and Footprint 3 impacted the entire wheatbelt of Australia. However, further research is necessary to determine global ocean/atmosphere patterns associated with each wheat footprint. Predictability of the likely climatic drivers casual for wheat yield footprint climate pattern differences might lead to improve targeted agricultural climate forecasting systems.
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