AgMIP and the SDGs: Simulating Multiple Demands on Agriculture

Results from Impacts World, October 11-13, 2017

By Jenna Behrendt and Greg Reppucci

Panel members Mohammed Ly, Alex Ruane, Christoph Müller, and Joshua Elliot converse during the Session
Quantifying the true costs of climate impacts, particularly on human health, migration, and sustainable development, is a challenging but necessary step in understanding how best to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The international Impacts World 2017 conference, held in Potsdam, Germany 11-13 October, brought together leading scientists and stakeholders to discuss recent findings. Results were presented in the context of four themes – Economic costs, Human health, Human migration, and Sustainable Development Goals.

The Agricultural Modeling Intercomparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP, www.agmip.org) contributed a Workshop entitled: “AgMIP and the SDGs: Simulating Multiple Demands on Agriculture,” led by Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University, and AgMIP Co-Founder and Executive Committee Member.

Rosenzweig launched the Worskhop by introducing how modelling tools can help us understand implications of The Paris Agreement – that is, what it will take to keep global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – and the additional factors to be addressed if we are to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. She also addressed how models can help us understand how to End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition, and Promote Sustainable Agriculture (also known as SDG2). She noted specific ways the AgMIP Research Pillar of Coordinated Global and Regional Assessments (CGRA) can contribute, while emphasizing also the need for innovation to fully address the challenges posed. View her presentation here.

Following Rosenzweig’s presentation, seven panel members presented underway work, key challenges, and next steps for advancing agricultural modelling to help achieve the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

Joshua Elliot (University of Chicago) discussed the increasing frequency of weather extreme events and how the use of monitoring and seasonal forecasting tools can be a means to mitigating risk in crop production. Elliott Co-Leads the AgMIP Global Gridded Crop Modeling Initiative (GGCMI). View the presentation here.

Tomoko Hasegawa (National Institute for Environmental Studies) emphasized the need for mitigation policy to be carefully designed to enhance, but not exacerbate, vulnerability to food security.

Senthold Asseng (University of Florida, Gainesville) shared findings that climate change impacts not only grain yield, but also protein content. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between climate change impacts, yield and protein content. Asseng Co-Leads the AgMIP Wheat Modeling Intercomparison and has recently joined the AgMIP Executive Committee. View the presentation here.

Mohammed Ly (Climate Analytics) recommended agroclimatic analysis to support adaptation methods in West Africa across crop types. He also suggested the need for drought and heat tolerant crop varieties to ensure food security for the region. View the presentation here.

Christoph Müller (Potsdam Institute for Climate) discussed how future maize yield, at the global scale, is dependent on water and nitrogen supply. Müller Co-Leads the AgMIP Global Gridded Crop Modeling Initiative (GGCMI). View the presentation here.

David Leclere (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) reported that biodiversity, habitat quality and species richness will likely decrease in the future, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America. View the presentation here.

Alex Ruane (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science) demonstrated the circular system of farming systems in global crop production. He emphasized why linked models that examine local farms as well as global and regional markets are the best way to evaluate a circular system and make predictions about future economic scenarios. Ruane Co-Leads the AgMIP Climate Team and also provides AgMIP Science Coordination. View the presentation here.

Workshop participants engaged the panel members in a question and answer session, moderated by Rosenzweig, from which the below priorities for future research were suggested.

Based on the RCP 4.5, anticipated average yield in 2050 is positive for wheat, but negative in some cases for spring peas.
Future climate impacts are likely to be heterogeneous, varying across farms due to spatial variation in projected weather patterns.
One-third of farms are likely vulnerable to economic losses from climate change, with small farms more vulnerable than large farms.
The economic effects of climate change are more positive under RAP scenarios.
The differences in climate change impacts among the three RAPs are small, perhaps because of the variables selected.
Global climate and global economic model uncertainty may overshadow the effects of other socio-economic variables included in the RAPs.