Applications of seasonal to interannual climate prediction in agricultural planning and operations
Ogallo, L A
Boulahya, M S
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Climate determines the general adaptation of ecosystems and land use activities at any location. Year to year recurrences of extreme climate events such as drought, flooding, hot/cold spells, etc. often have far reaching consequences in agriculture. Advance warning of such events through climate prediction can minimize various socio-economic problems which are often associated with such events. The severity of the socio-economic impacts of climate related stress varies significantly from one region to another. The impacts are generally more severe in many developing countries where technological adaptations are often very low, and where most of the agricultural systems are rain dependent. Socio-economic challenges of the next century will include population pressure, industrialization, environmental degradation, and anthropogenic climate change issues, among others. Thus some climate stress in this century may be able to induce far more serious socio-economic disasters in the next century. Advance warning of impending extreme climate events, especially within time scales of months to years, would provide vital information which could be used for sustainable agricultural production. Such early warning information can also form crucial components of national/regional disaster preparedness system which will help to minimise loss of life and property including damage to agricultural investments. This review has addressed the basic linkages between climate and agricultural systems, the current state of climate prediction science and technology, together with their potential advancements in the next century. The last part of the review highlights the challenges of optimum applications of climate information and prediction products in agricultural planning and operations in the next century. Vital to such an effort are the availability of good databases, skilled multidisciplinary human resources, co-operation between scientists and product users to improve the use of climate prediction products, and to investigate technological and natural adaptations aimed at mitigating the effects of extreme weather.