Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2017-156
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
05 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Extending global irrigation maps – going beyond statistics
Jonas Meier, Florian Zabel, and Wolfram Mauser Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, 80333, Germany
Abstract. Agriculture is the largest global consumer of water. Irrigated areas contribute to 40 % of the agricultural production. Information on their spatial distribution is highly relevant for regional water management and food security. Spatial information on irrigation is highly important for policy and decision makers who are facing the transition towards a more efficient sustainable agriculture. However, existing global datasets are coarse and the mapping of irrigated areas still represents a challenge for land classifications. The following study extends existing irrigation maps that are based on statistics. The approach processes and analyses spatial data incrementally in a multi decision tree by using multi-temporal NDVI SPOT-VGT data and agricultural suitability data – both at a spatial resolution of 30 arc seconds. It covers the period from 1999 to 2012. The result exceeds the resolution of existing global studies and is not restricted to official reports made by surveys. Irrigated areas that were not yet included in the reports could be identified. The results globally show 22 % more irrigated areas than existing approaches and statistical data. The largest differences compared to existing data are found in Asia and particularly in China and India. The additional areas are mainly identified within already known irrigated regions where irrigation is more dense than previously estimated.

Citation: Meier, J., Zabel, F., and Mauser, W.: Extending global irrigation maps – going beyond statistics, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2017-156, in review, 2017.
Jonas Meier et al.
Jonas Meier et al.
Jonas Meier et al.

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Short summary
The following study extends existing irrigation maps that are based on official reports. The main idea was to extend the reported irrigated areas using agricultural suitability data and compare them with remote sensing information about the plant conditions. The analysis indicates an increase of irrigated land by 22 % compared to the reported statistics. The additional areas are mainly identified within already known irrigated regions where irrigation is more dense than previously estimated.
The following study extends existing irrigation maps that are based on official reports. The...
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