The effect of climate and aerosol on crop production: a case study of central Asia

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Ozdes, Mehmet
Sokolik, Irina N.
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The effect of recent climate change in Central Asia poses a significant and potentially serious challenge to the region’s agricultural sector. An investigation of the aerosol-climate- crop yield correlation in this region is essential for a better understanding of the effect of aerosols and climate on Central Asian agriculture. Our goal is to investigate the linkages between aerosol, climate and major crop production (cotton, maize, wheat, and rice) in specified agricultural regions in the five Central Asian countries. Our approach is to perform the Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient analysis in order to observe the statistical correlation between crop yield, temperature, precipitation, and aerosol optical depth (AOD), for each indicated agricultural region in the selected countries. Besides, using NASA GIOVANNI website tools, we retrieve distribution maps and time series of temperature, precipitation and AOD to facilitate the analyses. The research shows that in some aspects, the relation between AOD, climate, and crop yield is different in Central Asia than in previous global or large scale research hypotheses. The statistical correlations vary not only across countries but also across agricultural regions. For example, in Kazakhstan, opposite correlations exist between precipitation and AOD in two different agricultural regions even though both regions are rain-fed. In the more arid countries (with lower rain rates) such as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, no correlation exists between crop production and temperature, precipitation, and AOD, while the less arid (with higher rain rate) countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) indicate a positive correlation.
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