New Plateau for Co-Developed Farming Systems Research

Nairobi Workshop Group PhotoParticipants at the Winners Circle Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya

By Erik Mencos Contreras

Since 2011 the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) has collaborated with researchers and stakeholders around the world to investigate the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector and understand implications for global food security. With support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), AgMIP Regional Research Teams (RRTs) in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia assessed the vulnerability of complex agricultural systems and tested adaptations to improve farmers’ livelihoods. In January 2017, AgMIP held the final workshop of the DFID funded project at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya: the AgMIP Phase 2 Winners Circle Workshop. Participants included members from all seven AgMIP RRTs, as well as AgMIP Leaders and Advisers from America, Europe, and Australia. The goal of the meeting was for the Regional Teams to present their latest results on the AgMIP Regional Integrated Assessment (RIA) methodology and receive feedback to ensure the successful completion of the project.

CGRA +1.5 and 2°C Impacts Workshop
MacCarthy-Ashfaq AgMIP West Africa Regional Team Leader, Dr. Dilys Mac Carthy, presents results from West Africa (left), while Dr. Ashfaq Chattha of AgMIP-Pakistan responds to questions from participants (right) at the AgMIP CGRA workshop on Impacts of 1.5 and 2°C Warming on Agriculture held at IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria, June 12-14, 2017.

By Meridel Phillips

In April 2016 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed to provide a Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Given the importance of agricultural sciences to these reports, AgMIP is mobilizing its global network of researchers to contribute to the information base through coordinated simulations and analyses.

This week, June 12 – 14, AgMIP is convening the second of a series of workshops on the Coordinated Global and Regional Assessment (GCRA) of the Impacts of 1.5 and 2°C Warming on Agriculture at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. The group aims to analyze the agricultural sector outcomes with global and regional economic models under unique storylines of mitigation, land use, climate-smart management, and diet standards in the form of scenarios that are consistent with a +l.5 to 2°C world for crop and economic systems across scales.

Oklahoma State Visitors Collaborate with AgMIP and NASA

By Phil Alderman

Prof and Students from OK visit A Ruane -rightFrom left to right: Dr. Phil Alderman, students Anna Zander, Andrew Baird, Joanna Quiah, and Dr. Alex Ruane

The Southern Great Plains of the United States are known for high climate variability, including large swings in annual precipitation and cycles of high rainfall and severe drought. This variability has a profound impact on agriculture and the rural economies that depend on it due to the risk of potentially devastating weather- and climate-related stresses. Within this temporal variability is substantial spatial variability in the severity and timing of drought. In Oklahoma in 2016, for example, annual rainfall ranged between 8 inches above and 8 inches below normal depending on location within the state. Farm- to regional-scale planning, depends on accurately quantifying the risk to agriculture caused by such variability.

To address this issue, Dr. Phillip Alderman and several of his students from Oklahoma State University are collaborating with Dr. Alexander Ruane from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Science Coordinator on a project entitled Spatiotemporal precipication estimates for quantifying agricultural drought risk. (more…)

IGB Crop Modeler Balwinder Singh featured in CIMMYT blog

A new story on the CIMMYT website features the research of Balwinder Singh, crop modeler on the AgMIP Indo-Gangetic Basin (IGB) Regional Research Team, for the blog “Breaking Ground”. The IGB team, led by PI Nataraja Subash, has just completed interdisciplinary research in Northern India investigating climate change vulnerability and adaptations of rice-wheat cropping systems.

Since 2014, Balwinder Singh has led the CIMMYT participation in the AgMIP IGB team, providing the crop modeling for the regional integrated assessments of the effects of climate change on global and regional food production and security and analyzing adaptation and mitigation measures.

“The most rewarding aspect of my work is to see my simulation results working in farmers’ fields,” Singh said. “There’s a proverb that says: ‘When a person is full they have a thousand wishes, but a hungry person has only one.’ There is no nobler task than that of being able to feed people. Some of us are not even aware of how many people are starving every day.”

Read the full blog post on the CIMMYT website.

Ensemble modeling improves projections of climate impact on potato

Potato-Blog2 Potato farm in Washington State. Photo: Ashok Alva, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research

By Carolyn Mutter

In a recent Global Change Biology contribution, David H. Fleisher (USDA-ARS) and 25 others provide the first reported results quantifying uncertainty in simulated yields for tuber/root crops for both low- and high-input growing environments.

The report, entitled ‘A potato model intercomparison across varying climates and productivity levels’ also demonstrates that modeling assessments of climate change impact on potato may be improved using ensemble approaches such as those being advanced by the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) community.

GGCMI introduces first online tool for crop model evaluation
Figure6GGCMI Global gridded crop model (GGCM) intercomparison using time series correlation coefficients for the top-10 maize producing countries. Rows display the individual countries ordered by production; left-hand labels describe the best performing GGCMs for that country and the correlation coefficients. White boxes indicate that correlations are not statistically significant. See paper for more.
C. Müller et al. 2017

By Christoph Müller

Model improvement is one of the central objectives of The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP.) For gridded large-scale crop models, model improvement has been hampered by the lack of suitable reference data. The Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison of AgMIP has now established a common benchmark for the evaluation of global gridded crop models (GGCMs) for wheat, maize, rice and soybean. In the recently published paper “Global gridded crop model evaluation: benchmarking, skills, deficiencies and implications”, open access in Geoscientific Model Development, this benchmark is used to test the performance of 14 participating GGCMs at global, national and pixel scale.

Global Food Systems Foresight Workshop
Participants of the Global Food Systems Foresight Workshop

Foresight about possible futures is a key tool for government, business and civil society that aids in improving responsiveness to future risks and opportunities.

The Global Food Systems Foresight Workshop, March 22-23 at the Environmental Change Institute in Oxford, UK, was held to explore how foresight and scenario processes, when applied to global food systems, can help drive the policy change, business strategies and societal understanding required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal Two (end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture). A key aspect of the discussion was the creation of a “Foresight4Food” initiative based on current foresight and scenario work done by a variety of organizations, including AgMIP.

Announcement of Opportunity

The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) is seeking co-Principal Investigator(s) to join its Leadership Team.

AgMIP ( is a major international collaborative effort coordinating the climate, crop, livestock, and economics modeling communities and nutrition scientists to conduct improved integrated assessments of stresses facing the agricultural sector and interventions to overcome them. Currently, AgMIP has over 850 participants from more than 45 countries contributing their expertise to over 30 projects and activities.

AgMIP has three research pillars: Coordinated Global and Regional Assessments; Next Generation Knowledge, Data & Tools; and, Modeling for Sustainable Farming Systems. Underway AgMIP initiatives include global crop model intercomparisons, global economic assessments, regional integrated assessments, data and tools to facilitate model improvement as well as multi-model and multi-discipline assessments, and cross-cutting themes to help interpret agricultural model results for decision-making. AgMIP operates under a living Charter that provides guidance on operations, standards, and protocols for its work.

Interdisciplinary Lessons from the South Africa Regional Reseach Team
The SAAMIIP team (from center bottom) Olivier Crespo, Thembeka Mpuisang, Andries Fourie, Wiltrud Durand, Weldemichael Abraha, Davide Cammarano, and Hlamalani Ngwenya Photo by Koketso Molepo

Interdisciplinarity and Diversity
is our strength

By Hlamalani Ngwenya, Olivier Crespo, Wiltrud Durand, Thembeka Mpuisang, Andries Fourie, Weldemichael Abraha, and Davide Cammarano

The Southern Africa Agricultural Models Intercomparison and Improvement Project (SAAMIIP) is investigating farming systems in South Africa and Botswana and is one of seven AgMIP regional research teams in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. One of the principles of AgMIP research is the necessity of interdisciplinarity. This piece presents the experience of the SAAMIIP team as its members navigated through the complexities of interdisciplinary research at all levels. Interdisciplinary research is three fold: 1) different expertises and disciplines (e.g. Climate, Crops, Socio-economic and Stakeholder Liaison); 2) engagement of a wide range of stakeholders from the different fields and at different decision levels; and 3) a wide range of outputs.

Video profile – Indo-Gangetic Basin Regional Research Team

The Indo-Gangetic Basin research team is one of seven regional research teams across Africa and Southern Asia working to provide scientifically rigorous and relevant agricultural information to stakeholders and decision makers. These Regional Research Teams, following the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Protocols for Regional Integrated Assessments, are at the forefront of agricultural research.