This entry was written by Philip Thornton, CCAFS Theme Leader.
The MarkSim GCM stochastic weather generator tool has just been updated. It now includes data from two additional climate models that were part of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Users can now choose from a total of six individual climate models, or they can select the average climatology of this ensemble of models, for generating daily data for future conditions. The climate models come from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway and Russia. Read more »
I remember someone once stating in a presentation that there is no single silver bullet to climate change adaptation – we have to throw everything at the problem. In CCAFS Theme 1 on Adapting to Progressive Change we see that adaptation in production systems requires a hard look at reducing the yield gap and effectively managing existing knowledge about suitable practices and technologies to adapt to the future, but we also need to raise the bar by supporting crop improvement to deliver farmers with varieties that can stand up to the many challenges of the future. In DAPA and CCAFS we hope to play an important role in the development of science-based guidance on appropriate crop improvement strategies for a dynamic climate. Read more »
The UK's chief scientists, Sir John Beddington, has said that no technological option be left untried in the effort to enhance agricultural productivity and improve food security for the world's growing population. This includes genetically modified crops, which Beddington said, are "no silver bullet," but their use must be justified in light of the problem the world faces: "water shortages and salination of existing water supplies, for example. GM crops should be able to deal with that."
A recent AlertNet analysis pulls together the various threads of the issue, citing key reports from our colleagues at IFPRI and FAO, and innovations in breeding from CIMMYT.
Developing “climate-ready crops”, as they are often called, will be essential to avoid production declines in the face of more extreme weather conditions, and to feed a growing global population in the coming decades.
There are many obstacles, including poor public opinion on GMOs in the North and the South, a monopoly of patent-holders, and of course, isolating the right genetic traits for the right conditions.
Africa flirts with GM technology in rush for climate-ready crops by Megan Rowling - AlertNet. 18 February 2011.
Take the CIAT photo challenge! Test your geography knowledge and learn what farmers in Africa, Asia and South Asia have in common.
Related: As climate effectively migrates, CIAT is working on mapping climactic and agricultural analogues in an effort to share coping and adaptation strategies within countries and across regions.
Climate projections of higher temperatures and variable precipitation may seriously threaten some agricultural systems, which will be exposed to extremes that exceed their capacities to adapt.
Scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali-Palmira, Colombia are working on research to show which crops will be affected and where. Their project examines the likely impacts of climate change on the 50 most globally important crops, determined by total harvest area. Initial results show a mixed bag of wins and losses, indicating the importance of investing in agricultural adaptation pathways to balance decreases in suitability for some crops or areas, with emerging opportunities in other potential croplands.
The results illustrate a general trend where, as the world warms, suitable growing areas will shift towards cooler temperatures at higher latitudes, where most developed countries are located. Therefore, while developed countries may gain substantial production potential, many developing countries—particularly those in food-insecure subtropical and tropical regions—will likely lose out. Unless farmers can migrate their crops to more viable growing areas, many food products grown exclusively or mainly in tropical climates, like Arabica coffee (10.6%) and plantain bananas (-6.9%), will become scarcer. Moreover, a significant proportion of food crops are currently produced in developing countries, and taking advantage of newly suitable croplands farther north would require agricultural systems in areas with currently little to no arable land. Such a process will take time and come at significant economic costs—and during this lag time, food security may be put at risk. 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)