International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 857–867 | Cite as

ENSO and PDO-related climate variability impacts on Midwestern United States crop yields

  • Chasity Henson
  • Patrick Market
  • Anthony Lupo
  • Patrick Guinan
Original Paper


An analysis of crop yields for the state of Missouri was completed to determine if an interannual or multidecadal variability existed as a result of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Corn and soybean yields were recorded in kilograms per hectare for each of the six climate regions of Missouri. An analysis using the Mokhov “method of cycles” demonstrated interannual, interdecadal, and multidecadal variations in crop yields. Cross-spectral analysis was used to determine which region was most impacted by ENSO and PDO influenced seasonal (April–September) temperature and precipitation. Interannual (multidecadal) variations found in the spectral analysis represent a relationship to ENSO (PDO) phase, while interdecadal variations represent a possible interaction between ENSO and PDO. Average crop yields were then calculated for each combination of ENSO and PDO phase, displaying a pronounced increase in corn and soybean yields when ENSO is warm and PDO is positive. Climate regions 1, 2, 4, and 6 displayed significant differences (p value of 0.10 or less) in yields between El Niño and La Niña years, representing 55–70 % of Missouri soybean and corn productivity, respectively. Final results give the opportunity to produce seasonal predictions of corn and soybean yields, specific to each climate region in Missouri, based on the combination of ENSO and PDO phases.



The authors would like to thank Joshua Kastman for his help with the production of figures. Additional thanks to the two anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions that greatly improved the clarity of this manuscript. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award IIA-1355406. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chasity Henson
    • 1
  • Patrick Market
    • 1
  • Anthony Lupo
    • 1
  • Patrick Guinan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Missouri Climate CenterUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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