Agronomic analysis of WaPOR applications: Confirming conservative biomass water productivity in inherent and climatological variance of WaPOR data outputs

Chris Seijger*, Abebe Chukalla, Karin Bremer, Gerlo Borghuis, Maria Christoforidou, Marloes Mul, Petra Hellegers, Gerardo van Halsema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

CONTEXT: Improvements in agricultural water productivity with constrained water resources are often regarded a prerequisite to meet food demands of a growing world population. The WaPOR data portal was launched to monitor biomass, evapotranspiration and biomass water productivity in Africa and the Near East using remote sensing technologies. The WaPOR database shows spatial pixel variation in biomass, suggesting scope to improve water productivity at field level. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to assess with regression analyses for different spatial and temporal scales whether spatial variability in biomass and evapotranspiration as revealed by WaPOR can be attributed to human influenceable factors, variations in local climate, or methodologically inherent inacuracies of the WaPOR data. METHODS: Variation in biomass and evapotranspiration data was assessed through agronomic linear regression analyses, for two large-scale irrigated sugarcane estates in Ethiopia (Wonji) and Mozambique (Xinavane). RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In these cases 82–94% of the variation in biomass and evapotranspiration is attributed to crop photosynthetic efficiency (very large influence), local climate (large influence) and irrigation technology (small influence). The remaining unexplained spatial variability is small (6–18%) and falls within an error range of +/− 9%. In conclusion, WaPOR performed very well by neatly reproducing the conservative relationship between biomass and evapotranspiration, which also means there is very limited scope to improve biomass water productivity through WaPOR monitoring. Further research is recommended on the magnitude of WaPOR accuracy and other sources that explain variations in biomass and evapotranspiration. SIGNIFCANCE: Applicability of the WaPOR database to monitor biomass water productivity was assessed. Spatial variability in biomass and evapotranspiration data largely stemmed from photosynthesis and local climate, factors farmers and water managers can hardly influence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103712
JournalAgricultural Systems
Volume211
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Agronomy
  • Biomass water productivity
  • Climate variability
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Remote sensing
  • WaPOR applicability

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