The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) is a distributed climate-scenario simulation exercise for evaluation of an ensemble of crop models for their estimation of impact on crop yields from current and future climate conditions. Participation includes many of the leading multiple crop and agricultural economics modeling groups around the world. The goals of AgMIP are to improve substantially the characterization of risk of hunger and world food security due to climate change and to enhance adaptation capacity in both developing and developed countries. The three-year project will provide the necessary integrated, transdisciplinary framework to assess climate impacts on the agricultural sector and builds capacity for continuing agricultural assessment and management in developing countries under changing climate conditions.
A large storage archive will be needed to collect the datasets required for scenario generation. An archive of publicly-available gridded datasets (retrospective analyses, GCM outputs, etc.) will be constructed at Columbia University/GISS. The end goal of the climate scenarios team is to produce climate scenarios for AgMIP simulations, which will be placed online for AgMIP users. All data used will be documented (including links to public dissemination sites). Climate datasets of interest include historical observations from meteorological stations in agricultural regions (not always publicly available).
The Crop Modeling Team of AgMIP has the responsibility of coordinating the evaluation, intercomparison, and improvement of crop models prior to using the crop models for climate change assessment and adaptation to climate change. They will coordinate team efforts to calibrate crop models at both site-specific and regional levels, so the models will give more reliable predictions under baseline and future climate scenarios. Calibration of crop models for sites and for regions will be a key activity of the crop modeling teams and this effort will be conducted in the given regions (not by crop, but by cropping system), and is strongly intended to include regional data specialists (agronomists, soil scientists, plant scientists, etc.) who know the management and growth environment for those regions. Crop modelers (for the different crops) will be involved to assist in model calibration, but data sources (soils, management, cultivar characterization, etc.) will be responsibility of regional scientists. Issues at this step range from site-specific calibration at relatively limited sites, to calibration against regional yields, which will require an aggregation methodology and consideration of yield-gap factors.
In summary, AgMIP has several aims running in parallel and sequentially: 1. Model comparison; 2. Model improvement; 3. Model application to assess climate change (adaptation); 4. Model linkage (agronomic and economic); 5. Establishing an effective network, defining protocols and capacity building. In its first phase the emphasis is on point 1 and 5.