Ariel Avgi

Ariel Avgi
B.S, Applied Mathematics, Undergraduate, 05/29/2019

Cohort Level: Cohort - I

Career Goal: I would like to have some work experience before I enter graduate school, so I hope to find a job applying the data analysis skills I have obtained from both my academic course work as well as my research project

Expected Graduation Date: May 30, 2019

Degree: B.S Applied Mathematics

Research Title: Characterizing Concurrent Hot and Dry Spell Events Across the Crucial Breadbasket Regions

Research Synopsis: Extreme hot and dry spells in major growing regions have far reaching impacts on global food production. Observed data suggests that there has been a substantial increase in the number of concurrent droughts and heatwaves over the last fifty years—conditions that prove devastating for crop growth. This study assesses the incidence of concurrent extreme droughts and heatwaves on wheat croplands across the major breadbasket regions around the world between 1950 and 2014. Maps were produced for spring and winter growing seasons, which represent the global distribution of wheat croplands in the years that experienced the greatest number of concurrent extreme events during the history of the available data (e.g. gridded daily surface temperature, SPEI and PDSI). By assessing the global distribution of wheat producing locations affected by the most extreme incidents of concurrent hot and dry spell conditions, we aim to present a better diagnosis of (1) the characteristics of extreme weather conditions relevant for global wheat productivity around the globe and (2) the associated larger-scale climate variability. The initial results of this study suggest that major wheat producers such as Australia, the United States and Kazakhstan observe a reduction in wheat productivity together within the years when wheat croplands within these countries are concurrently impacted by both droughts and heatwaves. Additionally, the association between the most impactful years and global sea surface temperature conditions suggest that wheat productivity can be negatively affected by either El Nino or La Nina events, mostly by one-year lag, depending on the growing location in question.