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  • Author or Editor: Randall V. Martin x
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Randall V. Martin, Richard Washington, and Thomas E. Downing


Seasonal maize water-stress forecasts were derived for area averages of the primary maize-growing regions of South Africa and Zimbabwe. An agroclimatological model was used to create a historical record of maize water stress as a function of evapotranspiration for 1961–94. Water stress, the primary determinant of yield in water-limited environments such as southern Africa, was correlated with two well-known indices of the El Niño– Southern Oscillation: the Southern Oscillation index (SOI) and the Niño-3 region of the equatorial Pacific. Forecasts for South Africa using only the SOI at a 4-month lead yielded a hindcast correlation of 0.67 over 17 seasons (1961–78) and a forecast correlation of 0.69 over 16 seasons (1978–94). Forecasts for Zimbabwe were less remarkable.

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