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Climate Based Predictability of Oil Palm Tree Yield in Malaysia

By Pascal Oettli, Swadhin K. Behera and Toshio Yamagata


Abstract The influence of local conditions and remote climate modes on the interannual variability of oil palm fresh fruit bunches (FFB) total yields in Malaysia and two major regions (Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak) is explored. On a country scale, the state of sea-surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical Pacific Ocean during the previous boreal winter is found to influence the regional climate. When El Niño occurs in the Pacific Ocean, rainfall in Malaysia reduces but air temperature increases, generating a high level of water stress for palm trees. As a result, the yearly production of FFB becomes lower than that of a normal year since the water stress during the boreal spring has an important impact on the total annual yields of FFB. Conversely, La Niña sets favorable conditions for palm trees to produce more FFB by reducing chances of water stress risk. The region of the Leeuwin current also seems to play a secondary role through the Ningaloo Niño/ Niña in the interannual variability of FFB yields. Based on these findings, a linear model is constructed and its ability to reproduce the interannual signal is assessed. This model has shown some skills in predicting the total FFB yield

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1038/s41598-018-20298-0
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