Global Monitoring RSEM System for Crop Production by Incorporating Satellite-based Photosynthesis Rates and Anomaly Data of Sea Surface Temperature

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Daijiro Kaneko, Remote Sensing Environmental Monitor, President, Yokohama, Japan and Hirofumi Sakuma, JAMSTEC Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Kanagawa, Japan
The first author has been developing RSEM crop-monitoring system using satellite-based assessment of photosynthesis, incorporating meteorological conditions. Crop production comprises of several stages and plural mechanisms based on leaf photosynthesis, surface energy balance, and the maturing of grains after fixation of CO2, along with water exchange through soil vegetation-atmosphere transfer.

Grain production in prime countries appears to be randomly perturbed regionally and globally. Weather for crop plants reflects turbulent phenomena of convective and advection flows in atmosphere and surface boundary layer. It has been difficult for scientists to simulate and forecast weather correctly for sufficiently long terms to crop harvesting. However, severely poor harvests related to continental events must originate from a consistent mechanism of abnormal energetic flow in the atmosphere through both land and oceans.

It should be remembered that oceans have more than 100 times of energy storage compared to atmosphere and ocean currents represent gigantic energy flows, strongly affecting climate. Anomalies of Sea Surface Temperature (SST), globally known as El Niño, Indian Ocean dipole, and Atlantic Niño etc., affect the seasonal climate on a continental scale. The authors aim to combine monitoring and seasonal forecasting, considering such mechanisms through land-ocean biosphere transfer.

The present system produces assessments for all continents, specifically monitoring agricultural fields of main crops. Historical regions of poor and good harvests are compared with distributions of SST anomalies, which are provided by NASA GSFC. Those comparisons fairly suggest that the Worst harvest in 1993 and the Best in 1994 relate to the offshore distribution of low temperature anomalies and high gaps in ocean surface temperatures. However, high-temperature anomalies supported good harvests because of sufficient solar radiation for photosynthesis, and poor harvests because of insufficient precipitation. Integrated rates of photosynthesis on prime grains with planted areas were compared with the SST anomalies in poor and good harvests years. Other factors for poor harvest such as rainfall, solar radiation in addition to the intensity of winds as a measure of pressure perturbations need to be studied.