By Philip Thornton
Since becoming available in June 2011, the on-line and stand-alone versions of the MarkSim GCM stochastic weather generator tool have been widely tested. A few problems were found, which have now been corrected. Both versions of the tool can be used to generate daily data that are characteristic of current conditions, based on the WorldClim dataset, an interpolated surface of weather station data from around the world mostly covering the years 1960-1990.
One version of the tool can be accessed here, in a Google Earth user interface. An alternative version of the tool, which can be run via user-written scripts or calling programmes can be accessed here, along with detailed documentation. Read more »
by Vanessa Meadu
In Vietnam, everywhere you look there is food. Before dawn, people haul away huge bags of produce, meat, fish and flowers to later sell on the city streets. On every sidewalk of every town, people are chopping, washing, cooking food. And from morning to night, folks are eating at makeshift pavement restaurants, or grabbing refreshment from a steaming or sizzling mobile stall, perched on the backs of their motorbikes.
This country takes food and agriculture very seriously, and has made incredible progress in the last few decades, going from importing most of its food to becoming a major food exporter, and a leading global rice producer and exporter. In recent years neglected crops like cassava have become major income generators in Vietnam, contributing to poverty alleviation.
Much of this growth is due to government and international investment in Vietnam's small-scale farmers. But climate change is a hazard to this progress. At worst, it threatens millions of people who depend on agriculture, from farmers in the Mekong Delta to consumers in the Philippines and beyond who depend on cheap rice for nutrition. Read more »
Edited by Lucy Holt
Irregular climatic variations are a major problem for agricultural production. However, knowledge on weather patterns can allow for the development of seasonal management strategies that account for weather patterns, even as they oscillate. Ultimately, this helps to secure farmers livelihoods.
There are many ways of producing this knowledge. In Senegal, the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has paired local farmers with meteorologists to show the combination of indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge can equal more than the sum of its parts.
Now, in the Andes, CCAFS has teamed up with International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil, and Colombia´s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), to found the project: Seasonal climate forecasts for agricultural crop and risk management. Read more »
by Patricia Moreno and Carlos Navarro
During the last days of February of this year, a training was carried out in the facilities of the Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM) in Maputo, Mozambique. The training covered the use of the ECOCROP model, a tool to evaluate crop suitability in both current and future climates. Sessions were a part of a collaborative effort between us and IIAM, on a project entitled "Managing climate related risks to improve livelihood resilience and adaptive capacity in agricultural ecosystems in Southern Mozambique." Read more »
by Anton Eitzinger (CIAT)
During the month of November last year, several researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) implemented participatory action research in four of the CCAFS East Africa sites. The participatory research was part of a multi-disciplinary project that aims to combine data on inherent soil properties, as well as ecological and land degradation status of the sites (see Land Degradation Surveillance Framework LDSF) into the development of robust crop suitability and prediction models. Socio-economic data including gender disaggregated data collected from the CCAFS household baseline survey (get data here), supplemented by a questionnaire survey carried out through local partners, will be analyzed to better understand the constraints and opportunities for adaptation. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
Alarming papers and risk analyses world-wide keep depicting a more uncertain and problematic future for agriculture and food security. This time, the bells are ringing for Central America. New research from our lead center International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) shows that higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns could transform the agricultural landscape of Central America, putting millions of maize and bean farmers’ future at risk.
The newly released report "Tortillas on the roaster" (PDF) takes a closer look at how a warmer climate will impact Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in Central America. The report is a pioneering piece, Read more »
by Chase Sova
Understanding the cost associated with climate change adaptation interventions in agriculture is important for mobilizing support and providing timely resources to improve resilience and adaptive capacities of small scale producers. In the latest CGIAR Climate working paper, Community-Based Adaptation Costing: An integrated framework for the participatory costing of community-based adaptations to climate change in agriculture (PDF), we see that the economic analysis of climate interventions is more than a game of numbers. Read more »
Of all the sectors contributing to anthropological greenhouse gas emissions, the livestock sector has been the most consistently difficult to pin down. How does one actually measure emissions from a living, changing animal? Do you count the CO2 they exhale with every breath? What about all the rainforest that’s been chopped down to accommodate pasture land, do you count that, too? With the wide range of estimates for livestock’s contribution to GHGs and the ongoing argument as to which production systems are the most sustainable, it’s no wonder livestock often gets left out of the mitigation discussion altogether. Read more »
Written by Chase Sova
Putting agriculture in the climate change agenda has raised a number of important issues such as threats of trade barriers, diversion of REDD+ funds to agriculture, how to deal with its cross-cutting and complex nature, and the links between agricultural mitigation and adaptation. Many of these issues have already become central talking points in UNFCCC negotiations (read David Howlett’s related analysis on “Political Economy and Food Security” for more information). However, it is worth remembering that these issues have much broader relevance to the ability to produce feasible adaptation and mitigation solutions in agriculture.
Irrespective of where we are in the process of embedding agriculture into efforts to fight climate change (be it at the negotiating table in Durban or a subsistence farming community in Western Kenya), we must address issues of scalability, the adaptation-mitigation interface, equity in carbon payments, and agriculture’s cross-sectoral nature, in order to ensure climate measures are most effective.
This post looks more closely at one of these issues; namely scalability, or a system's capacity to adapt to changes in size and complexity. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
Cassava has long been understood as being one of the most resilient crops in the tropics, surviving in a challenging environment that is both hot and dry. Impressive as this is, new research from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) points to cassava actually thriving in a warmer climate, making it the “Rambo of food crops”. The newly released research results have been published in a special edition of the scientific journal Tropical Plant Biology where it concludes that the cassava root will come to brush off the expected temperature rises of up to 2 degrees Celsius in Africa by 2030 and could even prove to be more productive thanks to the warming climate. Seeing that it very seldom happens, climate change could prove to bring something positive to the region for a change. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)