The relationship between extreme weather events and crop losses in central Taiwan

Abstract

The frequency of extreme weather events, which cause severe crop losses, is increasing. This study investigates the relationship between crop losses and extreme weather events in central Taiwan from 2003 to 2015 and determines the main factors influencing crop losses. Data regarding the crop loss area and meteorological information were obtained from government agencies. The crops were categorised into the following five groups: ‘grains’, ‘vegetables’, ‘fruits’, ‘flowers’ and ‘other crops’. The extreme weather events and their synoptic weather patterns were categorised into six and five groups, respectively. The data were analysed using the z score, correlation coefficient and stepwise regression model. The results show that typhoons had the highest frequency of all extreme weather events (58.3%). The largest crop loss area (4.09%) was caused by two typhoons and foehn wind in succession. Extreme wind speed coupled with heavy rainfall is an important factor affecting the losses in the grain and vegetable groups. Extreme wind speed is a common variable that affects the loss of ‘grains’, ‘vegetables’, ‘fruits’ and ‘flowers’. Consecutive extreme weather events caused greater crop losses than individual events. Crops with long production times suffered greater losses than those with short production times. This suggests that crops with physical structures that can be easily damaged and long production times would benefit from protected cultivation to maintain food security.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the Taiwan Agriculture and Food Agency Council of Agriculture Executive Yuan, the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute Council of Agriculture Executive Yuan, the Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute and the Central Weather Bureau for providing meteorological and agricultural data.

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Correspondence to Li-Wei Lai.

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Highlights

• The loss of vegetable group was clearly correlated with extreme weather.

• Typhoons contributed to the variable crop loss patterns of ‘grains’ and ‘vegetables’.

• The crop loss where consecutive extreme weather events occurred was great.

• The loss of crops with longer production time periods was great.

• Protected cultivation should be considered for crops with great loss.

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Lai, LW. The relationship between extreme weather events and crop losses in central Taiwan. Theor Appl Climatol 134, 107–119 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-017-2261-z

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