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Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 563-592, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-563-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
18 May 2018
Estimating sowing and harvest dates based on the Asian summer monsoon
Camilla Mathison1, Chetan Deva2, Pete Falloon1, and Andrew J. Challinor2 1Met Office Hadley Centre, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
2School of Earth and Environment, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9AT, UK
Abstract. Sowing and harvest dates are a significant source of uncertainty within crop models, especially for regions where high-resolution data are unavailable or, as is the case in future climate runs, where no data are available at all. Global datasets are not always able to distinguish when wheat is grown in tropical and subtropical regions, and they are also often coarse in resolution. South Asia is one such region where large spatial variation means higher-resolution datasets are needed, together with greater clarity for the timing of the main wheat growing season. Agriculture in South Asia is closely associated with the dominating climatological phenomenon, the Asian summer monsoon (ASM). Rice and wheat are two highly important crops for the region, with rice being mainly cultivated in the wet season during the summer monsoon months and wheat during the dry winter. We present a method for estimating the crop sowing and harvest dates for rice and wheat using the ASM onset and retreat. The aim of this method is to provide a more accurate alternative to the global datasets of cropping calendars than is currently available and generate more representative inputs for climate impact assessments.

We first demonstrate that there is skill in the model prediction of monsoon onset and retreat for two downscaled general circulation models (GCMs) by comparing modelled precipitation with observations. We then calculate and apply sowing and harvest rules for rice and wheat for each simulation to climatological estimates of the monsoon onset and retreat for a present day period. We show that this method reproduces the present day sowing and harvest dates for most parts of India. The application of the method to two future simulations demonstrates that the estimated sowing and harvest dates are successfully modified to ensure that the growing season remains consistent with the internal model climate. The study therefore provides a useful way of modelling potential growing season adaptations to changes in future climate.

Citation: Mathison, C., Deva, C., Falloon, P., and Challinor, A. J.: Estimating sowing and harvest dates based on the Asian summer monsoon, Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 563-592, https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-563-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
Sowing and harvest dates are a significant source of uncertainty within crop models. South Asia is one region with a large uncertainty. We aim to provide more accurate sowing and harvest dates than currently available and that are relevant for climate impact assessments. This method reproduces the present day sowing and harvest dates for most parts of India and when applied to two future periods provides a useful way of modelling potential growing season adaptations to changes in future climate.
Sowing and harvest dates are a significant source of uncertainty within crop models. South Asia...
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