Observed climate data and climate model outputs (e.g., temperature, precipitation, solar radiation) are used as inputs to “impact models” to produce regional changes in variables such as crop yields, water availability, and forests. These changes may then be evaluated in terms of economic and social costs, including numbers of people threatened by hunger, drought, or coastal storm surges.
Such assessments extend analysis of climate impacts beyond strict market values, which do not fully capture societal implications of populations at risk. Both components are needed for a comprehensive evaluation of the consequences of any policy decision regarding societal preparation for either short-term or longer-term climate impacts.
We are funding ten research and coordination teams to conduct integrated assessments of climate, crop, and economic impacts of variable and changing climate. This activity is funded by a grant from UKaid through the Department for International Development (DFID), in conjunction with the US Department of Agriculture. We are also developing near term climate scenarios and global gridded modeling activities in collaboration with other research centers with support from USAID/IRG. Beyond this, AgMIP has ongoing crop pilot activities in Europe, Australia, South America, and China. In these settings researchers are utilizing AgMIP protocols to explore crop model intercomparisons over multiple crops, models, and time periods. It is ground-breaking work that engages the best thinkers in agriculture world-wide.