Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 105, Issue 3, pp 469–483

Evolution of drought severity and its impact on corn in the Republic of Moldova

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00704-011-0403-2

Cite this article as:
Potop, V. Theor Appl Climatol (2011) 105: 469. doi:10.1007/s00704-011-0403-2

Abstract

Droughts in Moldova were evaluated using meteorological data since 1955 and a long time series (1891–2009). In addition, yields for corn (Zea mays L.), a crop widely grown in Moldova, were used to demonstrate drought impact. The main aim is to propose use of the Si (Si-a and Si-m) drought index while discussing its potential use in studying the evolution of drought severity in Moldova. Also, a new multi-scalar drought index, the standardized precipitation–evapotranspiration index (SPEI), is tested for the first time in identifying drought variability in Moldova while comparing it with the commonly used standardized precipitation index (SPI). Si-m, SPI, SPEI, and Si-a indices show an increasing tendency toward more intensive and prolonged severely dry and extremely dry summer months. Drought frequency increased through six decades, which included long dry periods in the 1990s and 2000s. Moreover, the evolution of summer evapotranspiration recorded a positive and significant trend (+3.3 mm/year, R2 = 0.46; p ≤ 0.05) between 1955 and 2009. A yield model based on the Si-a agricultural index and historic corn yields explained 43% of observed variability in corn production when drought occurred in May, July, and August. Increasing severity of the 20-year drought during the critical part of the growing season is raising corn yield losses, as net losses have so far exceeded net gains.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agroecology and Biometeorology, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural ResourcesCzech University of Life SciencesPragueCzech Republic

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