AgMIP Rice Team Meeting in China
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Ken Boote, University of Florida, joined the AgMIP-Rice crop modeling team meeting being held December 1-3, 2016 in Nanjing, China

The AgMIP research approach includes two tracks of activities. Track one focuses on model intercomparison and improvement for calibrating and evaluating models for use in different regions and crops. Track two encompasses multi-model assessments of climate change effects on food production and food security at regional to global scales. As part of the Track One initiatives, the AgMIP-Rice crop modeling team has been holding periodic meetings to provide an opportunity for the international rice modeling community to come together and improve tools needed to model rice production for future sustainability.

This week the next AgMIP-Rice crop modeling meeting, December 1-3, 2016 in Nanjing, China is being hosted by Professor Yan Zhu, Nanjing Agricultural University’s National Engineering and Technology Center for Information Agriculture in China (NETCIA).

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RAPs and Scenarios Workshop in Zimbabwe

How can scenarios inform the future of farming in Zimbabwe?

By Sabine Homann-Kee Tui

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Stakeholders from district to national scales in Zimbabwe met with AgMIP researchers on revising pathways that reflect trade-offs between environmental priorities and fast economic growth, useful for decision makers thinking about the future of farming in Zimbabwe. Photo: S Homann-Kee Tui

On the 25-26, October 2016 the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) South Eastern Africa Regional Team held a workshop titled “Future scenarios to inform decision making processes: National Representative Agricultural Pathways (RAPs) for Zimbabwe” at the ICRISAT Bulawayo office in Zimbabwe. The team is conducting research that aims at understanding climate change impacts on agriculture and prioritizing effective adaptation strategies.

The focus of the workshop was to illustrate the uses and contributions of RAPs for policy, research and investment decisions towards sustainable and profitable agriculture under uncertain future conditions. RAPs are set up through a rigorous process of scenario development to explore future model uncertainties.

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Article: Ensembles for Crop Modeling

Lessons from Climate Modeling on the Design and Use of Ensembles for Crop Modeling

By Yurong Yu, AgMIP Intern

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Daniel Wallach, lead author of Climatic Change article.

An important recent development in crop modeling is the use of model ensembles. The recently published article “Lessons from Climate Modeling on the Design and Use of Ensembles for Crop Modeling” in Climatic Change by Wallach et al., identified questions and approaches related to crop model ensembles, based on the experience of the climate modeling community. The benefits of this method not only include better estimates of uncertainty, but also improved predictions and closer collaboration within the modeling community. However there are numerous open questions about the best way to create and analyze such ensembles.

Climate modeling and crop modeling are two fields in which multiple groups have developed different models to represent complicated systems. Combining these models in a multi-model ensemble however has a longer history in climate modeling than in crop modeling, and so the latter has much to learn from the former.

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AgMIP Activities at ASA
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The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America will host more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators, and students at ASA 2016 International Annual Meeting, “Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance,” on Nov. 6-9 and AgMIP research is being featured in several sessions.

Patricia Masikati, Co-PI of the AgMIP South Eastern Africa regional team and keynote speaker at AgMIP6 will present on her team’s activities at the special session, Transforming Smallholder Agronomy in Africa. The session, beginning at 9:00 am on Wednesday November 9, focuses on the achievements of a higher rate of adoption of good agronomic practices by African smallholder farmers and includes a discussion of lessons learned and future activities of Agronomy in Africa, a new ASA community.

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Coming Soon: AgMIP Impacts Explorer

Understanding current and future adaptations in agriculture

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Sample info-graphic from Impacts Explorer prototype.

The AgMIP Impacts Explorer (prototype in development) is an interactive web tool that will make project outcomes available to stakeholders and offer them support to explore and understand results for policy planning and decision making. To achieve this, the tool links text on regional case studies in Africa and Asia, and interactive data visualizations, in a user friendly interface. The Impacts Explorer project, with support from DFID UK aid, is planning on releasing a working prototype in 2017.

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AgMIP6 Global Workshop Summary

AgMIP6-group-photoAgMIP6 Group Photo

AgMIP has been developing this interdisciplinary research, or integrated assessments, of agricultural systems since 2010. Led out of Columbia University, the University of Florida, and Oregon State University, with major funding from UK Aid, AgMIP is comprised of an international community of scientists and stakeholders. The community, motivated by a desire to improve the state of food security research and then translate that into effective policy, periodically comes together at AgMIP Global Workshops to share new protocols, research results and plans for future collaborations.

The sixth of these AgMIP Global Workshops (AgMIP6) was held in Montpellier, France, June 28-30, 2016 where 220 participants from 39 countries and five continents attended. The participants represented not only a wide range of national interests, but also a diversity of fields including climate, crop, and economic modelers, as well as experts in nutrition and stakeholder engagement. Sessions were organized around three guiding themes: Next Generation Knowledge, Data, and Tools; Coordinated Global and Regional Integrated Assessments; and Modeling for Sustainable Farming Systems. Each of these themes represents one aspect of AgMIP research that enables the community as a whole to improve the assessments and bring them to the next level.

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FACE-IT Video

AgMIP Regional Research Teams in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have been using a new tool to help them streamline their workflow and use the power of cloud computing. This new tool named FACE-IT is an open, interactive, online platform that enables users to access data; easily build and run workflows; and analyze, visualize, and share results.

Developed out of the University of Chicago – The Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP), FACE-IT is an effort to develop a new IT infrastructure to accelerate existing disciplinary research and enable information transfer among traditionally separate fields. At present, finding data and processing it into usable form can dominate research efforts. By providing ready access to not only data but also the software tools used to process it for specific uses (e.g., climate impact and economic model inputs), FACE-IT allows researchers to concentrate their efforts on analysis. Lowering barriers to data access allows researchers to stretch in new directions and allows researchers to learn and respond to the needs of other fields.

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Review of the history of agricultural systems modeling

nextgentimeline-01“Brief history of agricultural systems modeling,” Jones et al., the first in a series of articles in an upcoming special issue of Agricultural Systems, is now available online. The Special Issue, titled “Next generation agricultural system data, models and knowledge products”, is based on a “NextGen” study led by AgMIP with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In the introduction the authors state, “Our vision is for a new generation of agricultural systems models and knowledge products that can help accelerate the rate of agricultural innovation and meet the global need for food and fiber.”

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Video – the benefits of co-developing research

By Gregory Reppucci

Since 2012, The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Regional Research Teams in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have been conducting assessments of the impacts of variable and changing climate on regional food security. These integrated assessments feature an interdisciplinary approach that link climate, crop, livestock, and economic models to simulate agricultural productivity, rural income, and poverty rates.

Fundamental to the AgMIP Regional Integrated Assessment approach is the co-development of research that incorporates knowledge from local stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement cannot wait until after the research has been completed. Instead, it is an ongoing discussion that occurs throughout the research process where stakeholder knowledge and input assist scientists in producing outputs that are relevant to decision-makers.

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AgMIP Launches Coordinated Global and Regional Assessments

By Alex Ruane, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
AgMIP Science Coordinator

CGRAcircle3tightAgMIP is pleased to announce the launch of the Coordinated Global and Regional Assessments (CGRA) of climate impacts on agriculture and food security, including the release of a new CGRA webpage, CGRA site survey, and protocols for a +1.5⁰C CGRA Assessment designed to contribute to an upcoming special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The CGRA is built upon AgMIP’s successes in model development and uncertainty analysis to construct and apply a multi-model, multi-disciplinary, multi-scale framework that enables new insights into our global food system and its interconnections with regional agriculture. By connecting global and regional approaches for climate, crop, livestock, economics, and food security modeling, the CGRA provides new perspectives on strategies to meet the challenges for adaptation, mitigation, food policy, and food security in the coming years and decades (see figure). For example, the CGRA approach will help us understand how a push towards increased use of biofuels may require higher yields on remaining agricultural lands and thus increase the vulnerability of the global food system to climate shocks such as a major drought or flood.

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