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Rainfall seasonality and timing: implications for cereal crop production in Ethiopia

Rainfall seasonality and timing: implications for cereal crop production in Ethiopia
Rainfall seasonality and timing: implications for cereal crop production in Ethiopia
Rainfall seasonality and timing are key climatic features affecting crop yield in rainfed agriculture (RFA). We evaluated the dynamics of temporal rainfall attributes – the strength of seasonality, the date of onset, cessation, and duration of the rainy season – over RFA areas across Ethiopia for the period 1981-2010 and explored their impacts on cereal crop production (including maize, teff, sorghum, wheat, barley, millet, oats and rice) between 1995 and 2010. First, we quantified the rainfall seasonality using an entropy-based seasonality index, defined the onset and cessation dates of rainy seasons, computed the rainy season duration, and analyzed their interannual variability and trends. Second, we correlated de-trended total cereal production during the Meher (i.e., long rainy) season (April to September) with the anomalies of the temporal rainfall attributes, and we used a univariate linear regression model to estimate the influence of changes in these attributes on crop production. We show that RFA areas in northern Ethiopia are characterized by a highly seasonal and unimodal rainfall regime. The southern parts of the RFA areas are characterized by less seasonal rainfall of bimodal and erratic nature. Cereal crop production during the Meher season, especially in teff and maize-dominated regions, is found to be correlated to both the onset (median ρ=-0.32 and -0.37, respectively) and duration (ρ=0.34 and 0.19) of the rainy season in the unimodal rainfall regime, whereas it is correlated with the rainfall seasonality (ρ=0.21) in regions with a bimodal rainfall. We estimate that on average over RFA areas, a late-onset and shorter rainy season lead to ∼1.5% and 1.1% crop production losses per pentad (5-day period), respectively.
0168-1923
Wakjira, Mosisa Tujuba
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Peleg, Nadav
eb6cb5dc-ea19-4764-8943-acbfaf29a5c6
Anghileri, Daniela
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Molnar, Darcy
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Alamirew, Tena
ae9170b2-dedd-4c83-b59d-e2b5bed0d6fd
Six, Johan
a48791da-03b7-4d54-bb9b-8b0f55764252
Molnar, Peter
99f2d15c-5348-4c80-bb35-fb54c133862d
Wakjira, Mosisa Tujuba
c9e62947-9f77-4fbe-96ba-75c8989d0e42
Peleg, Nadav
eb6cb5dc-ea19-4764-8943-acbfaf29a5c6
Anghileri, Daniela
611ecf6c-55d5-4e63-b051-53e2324a7698
Molnar, Darcy
3c663ba7-1832-488d-ab05-9ea249fc5e55
Alamirew, Tena
ae9170b2-dedd-4c83-b59d-e2b5bed0d6fd
Six, Johan
a48791da-03b7-4d54-bb9b-8b0f55764252
Molnar, Peter
99f2d15c-5348-4c80-bb35-fb54c133862d

Wakjira, Mosisa Tujuba, Peleg, Nadav, Anghileri, Daniela, Molnar, Darcy, Alamirew, Tena, Six, Johan and Molnar, Peter (2021) Rainfall seasonality and timing: implications for cereal crop production in Ethiopia. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, [108633]. (doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108633).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Rainfall seasonality and timing are key climatic features affecting crop yield in rainfed agriculture (RFA). We evaluated the dynamics of temporal rainfall attributes – the strength of seasonality, the date of onset, cessation, and duration of the rainy season – over RFA areas across Ethiopia for the period 1981-2010 and explored their impacts on cereal crop production (including maize, teff, sorghum, wheat, barley, millet, oats and rice) between 1995 and 2010. First, we quantified the rainfall seasonality using an entropy-based seasonality index, defined the onset and cessation dates of rainy seasons, computed the rainy season duration, and analyzed their interannual variability and trends. Second, we correlated de-trended total cereal production during the Meher (i.e., long rainy) season (April to September) with the anomalies of the temporal rainfall attributes, and we used a univariate linear regression model to estimate the influence of changes in these attributes on crop production. We show that RFA areas in northern Ethiopia are characterized by a highly seasonal and unimodal rainfall regime. The southern parts of the RFA areas are characterized by less seasonal rainfall of bimodal and erratic nature. Cereal crop production during the Meher season, especially in teff and maize-dominated regions, is found to be correlated to both the onset (median ρ=-0.32 and -0.37, respectively) and duration (ρ=0.34 and 0.19) of the rainy season in the unimodal rainfall regime, whereas it is correlated with the rainfall seasonality (ρ=0.21) in regions with a bimodal rainfall. We estimate that on average over RFA areas, a late-onset and shorter rainy season lead to ∼1.5% and 1.1% crop production losses per pentad (5-day period), respectively.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 August 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 September 2021
Published date: 15 November 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 455908
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/455908
ISSN: 0168-1923
PURE UUID: 07319db0-d5ae-422b-9916-6c18dd8b159b
ORCID for Daniela Anghileri: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6220-8593

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Date deposited: 07 Apr 2022 16:59
Last modified: 19 Dec 2023 03:02

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Contributors

Author: Mosisa Tujuba Wakjira
Author: Nadav Peleg
Author: Darcy Molnar
Author: Tena Alamirew
Author: Johan Six
Author: Peter Molnar

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