Climate Team

Alex Ruane, NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Leader)
Sonali McDermid, New York University, USA


The AgMIP Climate Team is tasked with collecting historical climate information, generating climate sensitivity experiments, producing consistent climate scenarios, and performing agro-climatological analysis for regions modeled as part of AgMIP. AgMIP Climate Team activities are designed to place climate data in ready-to-use formats to facilitate applications by agricultural modelers around the world.

Climate Team Analysis

Station observations of daily maximum and minimum temperatures, rainfall, and solar radiation spanning 1980-2010 are the gold standard for baseline climate, and are also fed into geospatial weather generators to produce additional iterations that will more broadly capture seasonal variability. As many regions lack high-quality meteorological stations or have substantial gaps in recorded observations, the AgMIP team is developing a global gridded climate product to estimate any complete time series over the 1980-2010 historical baseline period. This s-MERRA climate product integrates data from weather stations, weather balloons, satellites, and various ship and airplane observations to form a physically consistent climate series with reduced biases for agricultural applications at specific points or even on global grids.

Sensitivity tests will be designed in consultation with the AgMIP Crop Modeling Team to test crop models on key sensitivities to temperature, rainfall, and carbon dioxide concentrations. These include the imposition of heat stress to correspond with critical stages of crop development and the characterization of the response to changing frequency and intensity of rainfall events. The AgMIP Climate Team is also playing a leading role in the Coordinated Climate-Crop Modeling Project (C3MP), which examines crops’ core responses to carbon dioxide, temperature, and water changes.

Future climate scenarios are based upon the observed baseline climate and changes simulated by an ensemble of general circulation models (GCMs) from the Third and Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3 and CMIP5). Scenarios include changes in mean climate and embedded climate variability, may utilize dynamical and statistical downscaling methodologies, and are designed to facilitate the quantification of climate change uncertainties in integrated agricultural impacts assessments. Geospatial weather generators will again be used for in-depth investigations of climate variability and extreme events.

The Climate Team is working with the AgMIP Information Technologies Team to streamline the use of climate datasets in agricultural modeling, and also to produce IT tools that facilitate quality control of historical climate series and the generation of future scenarios across a range of platforms and mathematical processing programs (e.g., Excel, Matlab, R).

For more information, please contact Dr. Alex Ruane at

Highlights of the 2011-2012 AgMIP Climate Team can be downloaded as a pdf here.