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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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  14 Jul 2020

14 Jul 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Characteristics of droughts in Argentina's Core Crop Region

Leandro Carlos Sgroi1, Miguel Angel Lovino1,2, Ernesto Hugo Berbery3, and Gabriela Viviana Müller1,2 Leandro Carlos Sgroi et al.
  • 1Centro de Estudios de Variabilidad y Cambio Climático (CEVARCAM), Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias Hídricas, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina
  • 2Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Santa Fe, Argentina
  • 3Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC)/Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies (CISESS), University of Maryland, College Park, MD,USA

Abstract. The current study advances the documentation of dry episodes over Argentina’s Core Crop Region, where the production of major crops like wheat, corn, and soybean is most intense and represents the main contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Our analysis focuses on the properties of droughts that include their magnitude, frequency at different time scales, duration, and severity. It is of interest to assess the relationship between those properties and the crop yields. We analyzed 40 years of precipitation and soil moisture at resolutions suitable for regional studies. The analysis of precipitation and soil moisture anomalies is complemented with the corresponding standardized indices estimated at time scales of 3- and 6-months.

Most droughts tend to occur for periods shorter than three months, but a few can extend up to one year and fewer even longer. However, if a multiyear drought experienced breaks, each period would be considered a separate case. Analysis of the frequency distribution indicates that cases of water deficit conditions are more common than instances of water excess. As relevant as the drought duration is its timing and severity. Even short dry spells may have large impacts if they occur at the time of the critical growth period of a given crop. In the core crop region, corn yield is the most sensitive to drought severity. For these reasons, the quantification of severity during the crop-sensitive months is an indicator of what crop yields could be on the next campaign.

Leandro Carlos Sgroi et al.

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Leandro Carlos Sgroi et al.

Leandro Carlos Sgroi et al.


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