Frankfurt Hydrology Paper
Global estimation of monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas on a 5 arc-minute grid
Felix Theodor Portmann
- Agriculture of crops provides more than 85% of the energy in human diet, while also securing income of more than 2.6 billion people. To investigate past, present and future changes in the domain of food security, water resources and water use, nutrient cycles, and land management it is required to know the agricultural land use, in particular which crop grows where and when. The current global land use or land cover data sets are based on remote sensing and agricultural census statistics. In general, these only contain one or very few classes of agricultural land use. When crop-specific areas are given, no distinction of irrigated and rainfed areas is made, whereas it is necessary to distinguish rainfed and irrigated crops, because crop productivity and water use differ significantly between them.
To support global-scale assessments that are sensitive to agricultural land use, the global data set of Monthly Irrigated and Rainfed Crop Areas around the year 2000 (MIRCA2000) was developed by the author. With a spatial resolution of 5 arc-minutes (approximately 9.2 km at the equator), MIRCA2000 provides for the first time, spatially explicit irrigated and rainfed crop areas separately for each of the 26 crop classes for each month of the year, and includes multi-cropping. The data set covers all major food crops as well as cotton, while the remaining crops are grouped into three categories (perennial, annual and fodder grasses). Also for the first time, crop calendars on national or sub-national level were consistently linked to annual values of harvested area at the 5 arc-minutes grid cell level, such that monthly growing areas could be computed that are representative for the time period 1998 to 2002.
The downscaling algorithm maximizes the consistency to the grid-based input data of cropland extent [Ramankutty et al., 2008], crop-specific total annual harvested area [Monfreda et al., 2008], and area equipped for irrigation [Siebert et al., 2007]. In addition to the methodology, this dissertation describes differences to other datasets and standard scaling methods, as well as some applications. For quality assessment independent datasets and newly developed quality parameters are used, and scale effects are discussed.
Supplementary Appendices document crop calendars for irrigated and rainfed crops for each of the 402 spatial units (Appendix I), data sources of harvested area and of cropping periods for irrigated crops, country by country (Appendix K), as well as data quality parameters (Appendix L, including spreadsheet files).
Global dataset of monthly growing areas of 26 irrigated crops : version 1.0
Felix Theodor Portmann
- A data set of monthly growing areas of 26 irrigated crops (MGAG-I) and related crop calendars (CC-I) was compiled for 402 spatial entities. The selection of the crops consisted of all major food crops including regionally important ones (wheat, rice, maize, barley, rye, millet, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower, potatoes, cassava, sugar cane, sugar beets, oil palm, rapeseed/canola, groundnuts/peanuts, pulses, citrus, date palm, grapes/vine, cocoa, coffee), major water-consuming crops (cotton), and unspecified other crops (other perennial crops, other annual crops, managed grassland). The data set refers to the time period 1998-2002 and has a spatial resolution of 5 arc minutes by 5 arc minutes which is 8 km by 8 km at the equator. This is the first time that a data set of cell-specific irrigated growing areas of irrigated crops with this spatial resolution was created. The data set is consistent to the irrigated area and water use statistics of the AQUASTAT programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/aquastat/main/index.stm) and the Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA) (http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/aquastat/irrigationmap/index.stm). At the cell-level it was tried to maximise consistency to the cropland extent and cropland harvested area from the Department of Geography and Earth System Science Program of the McGill University at Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA (http://www.geog.mcgill.ca/~nramankutty/ Datasets/Datasets.html and http://geomatics.geog.mcgill.ca/~navin/pub/Data/175crops2000/). The consistency between the grid product and the input data was quantified. MGAG-I and CC-I are fully consistent to each other on entity level. For input data other than CC-I, the consistency of MGAG-I on cell level was calculated. The consistency of MGAG-I with respect to the area equipped for irrigation (AEI) of GMIA and to the cropland extent of SAGE was characterised by the sum of the cell-specific maximum difference between the MGAG-I monthly total irrigated area and the reference area when the latter was exceeded in the grid cell. The consistency of the harvested area contained in MGAG-I with respect to SAGE harvested area was characterised by the crop-specific sum of the cell-specific difference between MGAG-I harvested area and the SAGE harvested area when the latter was exceeded in the grid cell. In all three cases, the sums are the excess areas that should not have been distributed under the assumption that the input data were correct. Globally, this cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to AEI is 331,304 ha or only about 0.12 % of the global AEI of 278.9 Mha found in the original grid. The respective cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to the SAGE cropland extent is 32.2 Mha, corresponding to about 2.2 % of the total cropland area. The respective cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to the SAGE harvested area is 27 % of the irrigated harvested area, or 11.5 % of the AEI. In a further step that will be published later also rainfed areas were compiled in order to form the Global data set of monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas around the year 2000 (MIRCA2000). The data set can be used for global and continental-scale studies on food security and water use. In the future, it will be improved, e.g. with a better spatial resolution of crop calendars and an improved crop distribution algorithm. The MIRCA2000 data set, its full documentation together with future updates will be freely available through the following long-term internet site: http://www.geo.uni-frankfurt.de/ipg/ag/dl/forschung/MIRCA/index.html. The research presented here was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) within the framework of the research project entitled "Consistent assessment of global green, blue and virtual water fluxes in the context of food production: regional stresses and worldwide teleconnections". The authors thank Navin Ramankutty and Chad Monfreda for making available the current SAGE datasets on cropland extent (Ramankutty et al., 2008) and harvested area (Monfreda et al., 2008) prior to their publication.