Improving the detection of agricultural drought: a case study of illinois corn production

William E. Easterling, Scott A. Isard, Pamela Warren, Patrick Guinan, Mark Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Too little attention has been given to the manner in which drought detection and monitoring indices are applied in agricultural settings. In this research, results of an Illinois corn-weather sensitivity analysis were used to select values of the moisture anomaly index (MAI or z) and related Palmer drought severity index (PDSI or X) to match periods of maximum moisture (i.e., drought) sensitivity in the corn growing season. These partial growing season values were compared with their equivalent growing season average for 12 Illinois sites to evaluate which were most effective in explaining interannual variations in detrended corn yields. Results indicate that the Palmer indices calculated for only the peak corn moisture sensitivity periods, outperformed the mean growing season Palmer indices in accounting for 1960-1983 interannual variations in corn yields by a factor of more than two.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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