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

Matias Heino*, Joseph H.A. Guillaume, Christoph Müller, Toshichika Iizumi, Matti Kummu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


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 on 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 especially impact crop production 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 utilising crop yield data from an ensemble of global gridded crop models simulated for a range of crop management scenarios. Our results show that, while accounting for their potential co-variation, climate oscillations are correlated with simulated crop yield variability to a wide extent (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 and 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 fertilised scenarios, while the sensitivity tends to be lower if crops were to be fully irrigated. Since the development of ENSO, IOD, and NAO can potentially be forecasted well 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalEarth System Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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