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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BITING ARTHROPODS: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit

Title: Recent weather extremes and impact agricultural production and vector-borne disease patterns

Authors
item Anyamba, Assaf -
item Small, Jennifer -
item Britch, Seth
item Tucker, Compton -
item Pak, Edwin -
item Reynolds, Curt -
item Crutchfield, James -
item Linthicum, Kenneth

Submitted to: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 24, 2014
Publication Date: March 21, 2014
Citation: Anyamba, A., Small, J.L., Britch, S.C., Tucker, C.J., Pak, E.W., Reynolds, C.A., Crutchfield, J., Linthicum, K. 2014. Recent weather extremes and impact agricultural production and vector-borne disease patterns. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 9(3):1-9. e92538.

Interpretive Summary: Significant drought and flooding events were observed in different regions of the world in the years 2010-2012 that had pronounced global impacts at regional and national levels, particularly affecting agricultural production and public health. Extreme climate events such as those observed in 2010-2012 are often the result of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon and related tropical and temperate weather. Severe drought and excessive rainfall/flood events in 2010-2012 affected agricultural production with ~10 to 80% variation for major commodities and created ecological conditions for insect transmitted disease epidemics/epizootics including dengue, Rift Valley fever, Murray Valley encephalitis, and West Nile fever.

Technical Abstract: We document significant worldwide weather anomalies that affected agriculture and vector-borne disease outbreaks during the 2010-2012 period. We utilized 2000-2012 vegetation index and land surface temperature data from NASA’s satellite-based Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to map the magnitude and extent of these anomalies for diverse regions including the continental United States, Russia, East Africa, Southern Africa, and Australia. We demonstrate that shifts in temperature and/or precipitation have significant impacts on vegetation patterns with attendant consequences for agriculture and public health. Weather extremes resulted in excessive rainfall and flooding as well as severe drought, which caused ~10 to 80% variation in major agricultural commodity production (including wheat, corn, cotton, sorghum) and created exceptional conditions for extensive mosquito-borne disease outbreaks of dengue, Rift Valley fever, Murray Valley encephalitis, and West Nile virus disease. Analysis of MODIS data provided a standardized method for quantifying the extreme weather anomalies observed during this period. Assessments of land surface conditions from satellite-based systems such as MODIS can be a valuable tool in national, regional, and global weather impact determinations.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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