Analysis of the long-term precipitation trend in Illinois and its implications for agricultural production

Vaskar Dahal, Sudip Gautam, Rabin Bhattarai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change is expected to modify the hydrological cycle resulting in a change in the amount, frequency, and intensity of surface precipitation. How the future hydrological pattern will look is uncertain. Climate change is expected to bring about intense periods of dryness and wetness, and such behavior is expected to be difficult to predict. Such uncertainty does not bode well for the agricultural systems of the United States (US) Midwest that are reliant on natural precipitation systems. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the behavior of precipitation during the cropping period. The manifestation of global-warming-related changes has already been reported for the last couple of decades and more so in the current decade. Thus, precipitation data from the recent past can provide vital information on what is about to come. In this study, the precipitation data of Illinois, a Midwestern state of the US with rain-fed agriculture, was analyzed with a focus on the climate dynamics during the cropping period. It was observed that even though there has been some increase in the annual precipitation amount (+1.84 mm/year) due to the increase in precipitation frequency and intensity, such change happened outside of the cropping period, thereby ensuring that climate change has not manifested itself during the cropping period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number433
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 6 2018


  • Climate change
  • Cropping period
  • Extreme events
  • Midwest
  • Rain-fed agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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