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Monitoring and Predicting Agricultural DroughtA Global Study$
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Vijendra K. Boken, Arthur P. Cracknell, and Ronald L. Heathcote

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162349

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195162349.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Agricultural Drought in North-Central Mexico

Agricultural Drought in North-Central Mexico

Chapter Ten (p.132) Agricultural Drought in North-Central Mexico
Monitoring and Predicting Agricultural Drought

José Alfredo Rodríguez-Pineda

Lorrain Giddings

Oxford University Press

Drought is the most significant natural phenomenon that affects the agriculture of northern Mexico. The more drought-prone areas in Mexico fall in the northern half of the country, in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, and Aguascalientes (figure 10.1). The north-central states form part of the Altiplanicie Mexicana and account for 30.7% of the national territory of 1,959,248 km2. This area is characterized by dry and semidry climates (Garcia, 1981) and recurrent drought periods. The climate of Mexico varies from very dry to subhumid. Very dry climate covers 21%, dry climate covers 28%, and temperate subhumid and hot subhumid climates prevail in 21% and 23% of the national territory, respectively. About 20 years ago, almost 75% of Mexico’s agricultural land was rainfed, and only 25% irrigated (Toledo et al., 1985), making the ratio of rainfed to irrigated area equal to 3. However, for the northern states this ratio was 3.5 during the 1990–98 period (table 10.1). Because of higher percentage of rain-fed agriculture, drought is a common phenomenon in this region, which has turned thousands of hectares of land into desert. Though the government has built dams, reservoirs, and other irrigation systems to alleviate drought effects, rain-fed agriculture (or dryland farming) remains the major form of cultivation in Mexico. In Mexico, there is no standard definition for agricultural drought. However, the Comisión Nacional del Agua (CNA; i.e., National Water Commission), which is a federal agency responsible for making water policies, has coined its own definition for drought. This agency determines whether a particular region has been affected by drought, by studying rainfall records collected from the national climatic network. The national climatic network is spread throughout the country and is managed by the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN; i.e., National Meteorological Services). The CNA determines, for a municipal region, if the rainfall is equal to or less than one standard deviation from the long-term mean over a time period of two or more consecutive months. If it is, then the secretary of state declares drought for the region.

Keywords:   Automation, drought monitoring in Mexico, Insurance companies, drought definition, Mexican Drought Research Center (CEISS), Weather stations, density in Mexico, Weather variables, drought monitoring in Mexico

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