Irrigation water requirements for seed corn and coffee under potential climate change scenarios

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The impact of potential future climate change scenarios on the irrigation water requirements (IRRs) of two major agricultural crops (coffee and seed corn) in Hawai'i was studied using the Irrigation Management System (IManSys) model. In addition to IRRs calculations, IManSys calculates runoff, deep percolation, canopy interception, and effective rainfall based on plant growth parameters, site specific soil hydrological properties, irrigation system efficiency, and long-term daily weather data. Irrigation water requirements of two crops were simulated using historical climate data and different levels of atmospheric CO2 (330, 550, 710 and 970 ppm), temperature (+1.1 and +6.4 °C) and precipitation (±5, ±10 and ±20%) chosen based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR4 projections under reference, B1, A1B1 and A1F1 emission scenarios. IRRs decreased as CO2 emission increased. The average percentage decrease in IRRs for seed corn is higher than that of coffee. However, runoff, rain canopy interception, and deep percolation below the root zone increased as precipitation increased. Canopy interception and drainage increased with increased CO2 emission. Evapotranspiration responded positively to air temperature rise, and as a result, IRRs increased as well. Further studies using crop models will predict crop yield responses to these different irrigation scenarios.

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