Use of ENSO-related climate information in agricultural decision making in Argentina: A pilot experience

Guillermo Podestá, David Letson, Carlos Messina, Fred Royce, R. Andrés Ferreyra, James Jones, James Hansen, Ignacio Llovet, Martín Grondona, James J. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


The availability of long-lead ENSO-related climate forecasts has led many to speculate that such forecasts may benefit decision making in agriculture. To explore the conditions required for the effective use of climate forecasts, we conducted a pilot study focused on central-eastern Argentina. Historical records showed higher (lower) average precipitation during warm (cold) ENSO events in November-December. However, variability of the precipitation signal within ENSO phases was high. National-level yields of maize, soybeans and sorghum tended to be higher (lower) during warm (cold) events. A field survey was conducted to identify impediments for forecast adoption and learn how to communicate climate information. Most farmers surveyed know about ENSO, with the 1997-1998 event marking a "turning point" in their awareness of the phenomenon. Finally, various modeling approaches were used to explore outcomes of alternative management options (changes in crop management and land allocation) tailored to climate scenarios associated with each ENSO phase. Simulation exercises identified differences in optimal management between ENSO phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-392
Number of pages22
JournalAgricultural Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Argentine Pampas
  • Climate forecasts
  • Climate-adaptive management
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation
  • Linked modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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