ENSO and PDO-Related Climate Variability Impacts on Midwestern United States Crop Yields

Date of Publication: October 2016

An analysis of crop yields for the state of Missouri was completed to determine if an interannual or multidecadal variability existed as a result of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Corn and soybean yields were recorded in kilograms per hectare for each of the six climate regions of Missouri. An analysis using the Mokhov “method of cycles” demonstrated interannual, interdecadal, and multidecadal variations in crop yields. Cross-spectral analysis was used to determine which region was most impacted by ENSO and PDO influenced seasonal (April–September) temperature and precipitation. Interannual (multidecadal) variations found in the spectral analysis represent a relationship to ENSO (PDO) phase, while interdecadal variations represent a possible interaction between ENSO and PDO. Average crop yields were then calculated for each combination of ENSO and PDO phase, displaying a pronounced increase in corn and soybean yields when ENSO is warm and PDO is positive. Climate regions 1, 2, 4, and 6 displayed significant differences (p value of 0.10 or less) in yields between El Niño and La Niña years, representing 55–70 % of Missouri soybean and corn productivity, respectively. Final results give the opportunity to produce seasonal predictions of corn and soybean yields, specific to each climate region in Missouri, based on the combination of ENSO and PDO phases.

Citation: Henson, C., Market, P., Lupo, A., & Guinan, P. (2016). ENSO and PDO-related variability impacts on Midwestern United States crop yields. International Journal of Biometeorology, 1-11. (article in press)
Team(s): Climate Team