MPOB Technology No. 28 : Modelling The Impact of Climatic and Climate-Related Factors on Oil Palm Growth and Productivity
The MPOB Technology series contains technical articles on specific aspects of the compoaition, properties, processing, refining, and end-uses of palm oil. It also covers oil palm technology
Accounting for the effects of climate is an important aspect of crop simulation modelling. Climatic factors such as radiation, temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind have both direct and indirect effects on crop growth. The main indirect effects occur through changes in soil water supply and evaporative demand. In the oil palm productivity model OPRODSIM (Oil Palm Production Simulator), an attempt is made to simulate the effects of these factors on oil palm growth and yield, using the best available information. The model uses independent climate data sets, specific to major Malaysian oil palm environments. Currently, four representative climatic conditions are provided, with a further option for the user to employ his own data set if available. The model can be used to evaluate each climatic element individually or in combination with others. It includes a standard soil water balance routine that calculates soil water deficit and evapotranspiration. Potential evapotranspiration and atmospheric vapour pressure deficit, if not provided as inputs, are also calculated. The information is used to assess probable effects on both vegetative and reproductive growth of oil palm. Options to change rainfall and explore the effects of the water holding capacity of the soil are included. The model also considers the consequences for yield of climate modifying factors such as haze, El Niño and global warming.