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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management of Agricultural and Natural Resource Systems to Reduce Atmospheric Emissions and Increase Resilience to Climate Change Title: The agricultural model intercomparison and improvement project (AgMIP)

item Boote, K -
item Rosenzweig, C -
item Jones, J -
item Hatfield, Jerry
item Ruane, A -
item Thorburn, P -
item Antle, J -
item Nelson, G -
item Porter, C -
item Janssen, S -

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2011
Publication Date: April 21, 2011
Citation: Boote, K.J., Rosenzweig, C., Jones, J.W., Hatfield, J.L., Ruane, A.C., Thorburn, P., Antle, J.M., Nelson, G.C., Porter, C., Janssen, S. 2011. The agricultural model intercomparison and improvement project (AgMIP) [abstract]. Biological Systems Simulations. CD-ROM.

Technical Abstract: The agricultural sector faces the challenge of increasing production to provide food security for the projected human population of 9 billion by mid-century, while protecting the environment and the functioning of its ecosystems. These challenges are compounded by the need to adapt to climate change, i.e., by taking advantage of potential benefits and by minimizing the potentially negative impacts to agricultural production. Crop models coupled with economic simulation models are proposed as a methodology to examine the impact of climate change on agriculture at regional and global scales. In addition to impact assessment, the same tools may be used to evaluate adaptation strategies (genetic, management, technology) for adaptation to climate change as well as mitigation strategies to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Before undertaking such efforts on regional and global basis, it is important to organize and coordinate interested collaborators and to develop strategies for comparing and improving crop growth models against common data sets to evaluate crop model uncertainties and crop model reliabilities for predicting effects of climate change or adaptation and mitigation strategies. Just as the global circulation models have been subjected to intercomparison against each other, we propose that crop models also be intercompared, so we can determine uncertainties across multiple different crop models. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) is a distributed simulation project for agricultural model intercomparison and future climate change assessments with open participation from multiple crop and economic modeling groups around the world. AgMIP research activities are organized under four project teams (Crop Modeling, Climate Scenarios, Economics, and Information Technologies), with guidance provided by a Leadership Team and a Steering Group. In addition, there are three cross-cutting themes – Representative Agricultural Pathways, Aggregation across Scales, and Uncertainty – which span the activities of all the teams. There are two primary tracks by which AgMIP will achieve its goals. Track 1 Model Intercomparison and Improvement is to conduct crop model intercomparisons and improvements using site-specific data to test accuracy and uncertainty of predicted crop yield response to climate. The second track is to use those models to conduct consistent multi-model assessments of climate change effects on local, regional, national, and global food production, food security, and poverty driven by climate change scenarios. Key elements of AgMIP include: 1) Crop Model Intercomparison and Improvement • Improve documentation, standardization and transparency of crop models and the data needed. • Compare performance of different crop models. • Better characterize the role of the direct effects of CO2 on crop yield and water use scaled to aggregated production estimates. • Improve crop model ability to simulate crop varietal performance. • Include the effects of extreme events in climate change projections. • Improve testing of agricultural adaptation to climate change. • Improve the representation of tropical region crops and geographic areas underrepresented in previous assessments. 2) Integrated Multi-Model Multiscale Assessment • Create rigorous methods of scaling and linking between climate, crop, and economic models from local to global applications. • Develop “Representative Agricultural Pathways” (RAPs) matching those developed by the global integrated assessment communities. • Generate and incorporate a wider spectrum of climate and economic scenario drivers to capture the range of plausible futures. • Better characterize important thresholds and inflection points in global agricultural production, relative to projected temperature and precipitation change. • Facilitate inter-comparison of global agricultural market models using AgMIP crop model simulations. • Improve documentation, standardization and transparency of economic & climate data and models. • Develop an infrastructure for data storage and generation for model, data, and results sharing to enable consistent, rapid, verifiable, and reproducible simulations in any region and at the global scale. AgMIP is a global project open to all interested participants. Initial surveys of interest have been undertaken. There is no central funding, but countries and regions are developing projects to fund their activities. Some funding has been secured for activities in developing country regions in Africa and Southeast Asia. A series of workshops in countries and regions will be held to facilitate AgMIP activities (and to build capacity in developing countries). In the workshops, crop and economic model intercomparison and improvement activities will be initiated, including sensitivity tests to determine key vulnerabilities and uncertainties, and assessments of climate change impacts on regional agriculture. Thorough evaluation against observations and intercomparisons will spur model improvement and interaction among major modeling groups, while future period simulations will lead directly to tests of adaptation and mitigation strategies across a range of scales. Interested participants are directed to website at

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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