Agricultural drought analysis in Zacatecas Mexico

Brenda Lizzeth Carrillo Romero, Gonzalo Picazo, Francisco Mojarro, Israel Velasco, Carlos Bautista Capetillo

Tuesday 30 june 2015

17:00 - 17:15h at North America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Extreme events, natural variability and climate change, (ST) Hydrological extremes: floods and droughts

Parallel session: 7I. Extreme events - Flood Drought

The North region of Mexico is characterized by semiarid climate. The state of Zacatecas is located in this area of the country between extreme geographical coordinates 25° 07’ N latitude and 100° 43’ W longitude, and 21° 01’ N latitude and 104° 22’ W longitude. The minimum and maximum mean monthly temperatures are around 3 ºC (January) and 30 ºC (May) respectively. Average annual precipitation is approximately 510 mm with a spatial distribution along the State ranged from 860 mm yr-1 at the South tip to 300 mm yr-1 at the North tip. Several droughts have occurred; the most recent were in 2005, 2009, and 2011 with harvest loss between 39% and 87% of annual production. Agriculture constitutes an important economic activity meaning the 11% of GDP. Zacatecas dedicates 1.8 Mha to produce crops such as corn, pepper, onion, garlic, and forage, being the first producer in the country of dry bean. Most of those grow up under rain-fed conditions (89% of the agricultural surface). Reasons such as the ones mentioned above were taken into account to evaluate drought events, its characteristics, duration and magnitude while using Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) as a tool to help to implement prevention policies against the phenomenon as well as strategies to use the water efficiently by all users (agriculture, cattle, industries, and cities). The SPI was estimated from 117 climatologic stations (considering climatic data from 1950 to 2012) interpolated to the surface of the state of Zacatecas. The drought was evaluated using 3, 6, and 12 months scales; the results show the best agreement between maps built in 3 months scale and agricultural losses records proportioned by the Mexican government.