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A Yield-Related Agricultural Drought Index Reveals Spatio-Temporal Characteristics of Droughts in Southwestern China

1
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
2
Sustainable Agriculture Systems, Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, Okehampton EX20 2SB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 714; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030714
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 20 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 29 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Southwestern China (SWC), one of the major rain-fed wheat production zones in China, has become vulnerable to drought in recent years under global climate change. To quantify drought severity during the wheat growing season and its impact on yield loss, we selected the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) model to simulate wheat growth between 1961 and 2010 in SWC. A new drought index was developed considering different weighting factors of drought for yield loss in three growing phases. The index was shown to be reliable in assessing drought severity in the region. On average, an abnormal drought mainly occurred in mid-west Guizhou with a frequency of 10–30%. Central SWC was subjected to moderate drought with a frequency of 10–30%, whereas severe drought often occurred in Southern Sichuan and the middle of Yunnan with a frequency >50%. Temporally, drought severity fluctuated before 1990, but increased significantly afterwards. Our assessment suggested that irrigation during the period from floral initiation to flowering would help to ameliorate the effects of water stress under climatic variability in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: yield reduction; wheat; APSIM; drought index; southwestern China yield reduction; wheat; APSIM; drought index; southwestern China
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Wu, L.; Feng, L.; Li, Y.; Wang, J.; Wu, L. A Yield-Related Agricultural Drought Index Reveals Spatio-Temporal Characteristics of Droughts in Southwestern China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 714.

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