Climate Change Implications To Irrigated Rice Production in Southern Brazil - A Modeling Approach

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Climate Change Implications To Irrigated Rice Production in Southern Brazil - A Modeling Approach

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Rice is one of the staple foods for more than three billion people worldwide. When cultivated under irrigated conditions (i.e. lowland rice), rice is one of the most intensive water consumer crops globally. Therefore, representation of rice growth should be integrated into the latest land surface models to allow studies on food security and to ensure that accurate simulations of the bidirectional feedbacks between the land surface and atmosphere take place. In this study, I present a new process-based model for rice fields that includes rice growth and rice irrigation as modules within the Agro-IBIS dynamic agro-ecosystem model. The model includes a series of equations, agricultural management parameters and an irrigation scheme that are specifically tailored for rice crops. The model was evaluated against leaf area index and biomass observations, obtained for one growing season in Rio Grande do Sul state (southern Brazil), and in Los Baños, Philippines. The model accurately captured the temporal dynamics of leaf area index in both the Brazilian and the Philippine sites, and predicted end-of-season biomass with an error of between -9.5% and 11.3% depending on the location and the plant organ. Rice phenology is predicted by the model based on experimentally-derived growth rates, and was evaluated by comparing simulated and observed durations of the four growth phases considered by the model. Agro-IBIS showed a tendency to overestimate the duration of the growth stages between 3% and 16%, but underestimated by 8% the duration of the panicle formation phase in one growing season. The new irrigation model is based on the water balance at the surface and applies irrigation in order to keep the water layer at the paddy field always in the optimum level. A set of climate projections from global climate models under two emission scenarios, and excluding and considering CO2 fertilizations effects, was used to drive the updated Agro-IBIS to estimate the effects of climate change on rice phenology, productivity and irrigation demand in southern Brazil during the 21st century. The results suggest that rice yields in southern Brazil can increase in average by 10–30%, but by up to 80% in regions where the current temperature is below optimum for rice growth and therefore will be benefited by warming. However, the same region might experience higher water demand for rice irrigation, which might pose a challenge for rice production in that region.



University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.August 2017. Major: Land and Atmospheric Science. Advisor: Tracy Twine. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 101 pages.

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dos Santos, Thiago. (2017). Climate Change Implications To Irrigated Rice Production in Southern Brazil - A Modeling Approach. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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