LIU,HUI-FANG（China Productivity Center Smart Agriculture Promotion Department）
Located in the subtropical region and surrounded by sea and close to the continent, Taiwan has highly complicated climate patterns. There are lingering plum rains in spring, typhoons and torrential rains in summer, and chilly cold fronts in winter. The extreme climate has made the weather even more changeable, which causes enormous agricultural disasters and crop losses, and break the balance of supply and demand of agricultural products. A lot of these losses can be prevented if farmers have access to the forecasted disaster information.
The Crop Disaster Early Warning System, jointly developed by the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, the Central Weather Bureau, the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, and the district agricultural research and extension stations of Council of Agriculture (COA), incorporates the mobile phone APP function to send real-time warnings of disaster information to farmers. Information of real-time weather observation, weather forecast for specific areas, the 24 annual climate patterns, growth features of crops, and disaster prevention methods is all integrated in the system so that farmers can keep track of the latest information before, during and after a disaster, and take immediate responses.
The information contained in the Crop Disaster Early Warning System includes:
1.Crop disaster warning:
On the crop disaster warning page, farmers can click on the specific county or township to inquire about the local crop disasters. The warning is issued based on the weather forecast provided by the Central Weather Bureau and focuses on the five crops with the largest planting area in each region. Green, yellow and red light signals as forecast indicators for different levels of potential disasters. The information is provided in conjunction with the cultivation calendar, which displays information with the month as the time unit. The information presented includes the growth cycle of crops, fertilization and related matters, common crop disasters and suggestions on measures of disaster prevention and post-disaster recovery, and common pest diseases. Farmers are then better equipped with the capabilities to respond to disasters and reduce losses.
Figures: Crop Disaster Warning (a) Disaster warning: green, yellow and red as warning signals, (b) Crop information: the five most widely grown crops in the region, and (c) Planting area: Five crops with the largest planting areas.
2.Early warning for specific regional agriculture land
Many crops in Taiwan are produced across regions. Considering disaster-prone or important economic crops, this system marks 62 important agricultural regions and introduces the physiological features of the crops, based on which the threshold conditions for disasters and the measures for prevention are listed. The weather forecast data for each district are provided by the Central Weather Bureau. Early warnings of crop disasters are provided using green, yellow and red light signals. The APP early warning function ensures that farmers receive the information early enough to take precautions in advance.
3.Taiwan's agricultural climate patterns, probabilities of weather disasters, and weather data inquiries:
The Central Weather Bureau analyzes Taiwan's climate patterns using long-term meteorological data. The system can trace the historical data for the monthly average temperature and cumulative precipitation.
The probability of weather disasters is provided by the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, in the unit of "every ten days", including the daily low temperature, daily high temperature, single-day cumulative rainfall, 3-day cumulative rainfall, continuous rainfall, etc. The frequency of occurrence of extreme weather variables can be plotted based on the specific values of temperature or precipitation to serve as a reference for farmers to cultivate crops and prevent disasters.
Meteorological data query can target at any meteorological observation stations in various regions of Taiwan, to identify the latest data of the observation station in the past two weeks and the historical data in the past 30 years, including: temperature, precipitation, maximum temperature, minimum temperature, insolation, relative humidity, etc. Data of a specific date can be retrieved for information such as temperature, temperature difference, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, insolation, sunshine time, etc. Agricultural weather reports for the next ten days and the next week are also available for the convenience of farmers in making inquiries and adjusting the cultivation plans.
4.The 24 annual climate patterns and the conversion of meteorological units:
The 24 annual climate patterns originate from the Yellow River area of mainland China, with each one lasting about half a month. Each one means a specific feature of climate change, rainfall and frost period. Although Taiwan is located in the subtropical zone, with different climate patterns from that of the Yellow River area, the 24 annual climate patterns are still largely followed by farmers in matters of plowing in spring, hoeing in summer, harvesting in fall and crop storage in winter.
The conversion of meteorological units includes those of temperature, luminosity, and wind speed. Values of any units can be entered to convert into the desired data form.
5.Disaster prevention plan implementation results:
This includes all kinds of disaster prevention research reports, for the reference of farmers.
In the past, due to the lack of a real-time information system, farmers received incomplete information to make adequate response when agricultural disasters occurred. With the assistance of technology, data of the crops, weather and disaster-related matters are now integrated into the "Crop Disaster Early Warning System". Through the real-time weather data provided by the Central Weather Bureau and the observation stations, farmers are better prepared for the measures of advanced precaution and post-disaster contingencies. Natural disasters sometimes do come quickly, though. Intelligent measures and automated equipment can be used on different crops. This will help reduce the loss and achieve a balance between production and sales, which can eventually lead to the stabilized income of the farmers and the fair prices for the consumers.