Extreme conditions in Russian croplands

Heatwave and drought have caused severe damage to Russia’s grain crop. Yields are expected to fall by up to 40%[1]. Russia announced a ban on wheat exports from August 15, causing a sharp rise in global grain prices.

How severe are conditions in 2010 compared to previous Russian droughts and heat waves?






The plot[2] shows monthly growing season precipitation versus temperature anomalies for wheat croplands 1948-2010. A positive index value indicates high cropland precipitation or temperature. June and July this year are clear outliers.

Gridded 200km climate data (NCEP Reanalysis) were re-projected[1] to an equal area projection and standardized[4]. Then a weighted average over the harvested area for the year 2000 (data from C. Monfreda et al) was carried out.


[1] USDA World Agriculture Report, August 2010 http://www.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/production.pdf

[2] made using smoothScatter() base R graphics.

[3] raster map calculations using raster package by Robert J. Hijmans & Jacob van Etten.

[4] Monthly standardized precipitation and standardized temperature indices.



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