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Variability and trends in irrigated and non-irrigated croplands in the central U.S

October 1, 2013

Over 23 million hectares (233 thousand km2) of U.S. croplands are irrigated and there was an overall net expansion of 522 thousand hectares nationally from 2002 to 2007. Most of this expansion occurred across the High Plains Aquifer (HPA) in the central Great Plains. Until recently, there has been a lack of geospatially-detailed irrigation data that are consistent, timely, geographically extensive, and periodic to support studies linking agricultural land use change to crop yields, aquifer water use, and other factors. We employed a modeling approach implemented at two time intervals (2002 and 2007) to map irrigated agriculture across the conterminous U.S. at a sub-county spatial detail (250 m2 spatial resolution). The model integrated U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) county statistics, satellite imagery, and a national land cover map. The geospatial model output, called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Irrigated Agriculture Dataset for the United States (MIrAD-US), was then used to depict detailed spatial patterns of irrigation change across the HPA from 2002 to 2007. Spatial changes in irrigation may result in shifts in local and regional climate, groundwater depletion, and higher crop yields and farm income. A closer investigation of irrigated corn across the HPA from 2000 to 2012 revealed even more variability through time, underscoring the need for more frequent periodic mapping of irrigated agriculture.

Publication Year 2013
Title Variability and trends in irrigated and non-irrigated croplands in the central U.S
DOI 10.1109/Argo-Geoinformatics.2013.6621888
Authors Jesslyn F. Brown, Md Shahriar Pervez
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70198337
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center