What will a new climate mean for farming?

By Cecilia Schubert, CCAFS

The climate challenges we are facing as a globe are enormous. Changing cropping patterns, new pests and diseases, land becoming unsuitable for farming and recurrent droughts and flooding are just a short list of the many dire consequences from a changing, uncompromising, climate. Research represents here an important tool, as it delivers the much needed models, future climate predictions and knowledge on best approaches towards battling climatic change.

The research magazine Nature Climate Change recently released a special edition highlighting 16 thought-provoking and original articles on current knowledge on how how climate change will impact agriculture, how agriculture is affecting the climate and if we have the capacity to adapt to the challenges. The special edition is unique in its own sense, as it is a major dive into what climate knowledge we have so far, and what is currently missing.  


How will our new climate impact farming? A climate-focused magazine edition explores possible ways. Photo: D. Mahendra

How will a new climate impact farming? A special edition of Nature Climate Change explores possible ways. Photo: D. Mahendra

The climate-focused collection, entitled “A New Climate for Farming”, covers topics such as the importance of crop models, food security and hidden hunger, and extreme events' impact on agriculture. Just to mention a few of the many sections this article-collection is offering.

Several featured articles and opinion pieces came from the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), a major international collaborative effort to assess the state of global agricultural modeling and to understand climate impacts on the agricultural sector. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is a key partner to the AgMIP team and many projects are interlinked between the two institutions.

"The high-quality research presented in the 2014 Nature Climate Change focus collection will be vital to take the next steps forward involving a science driven global view of the problem by farmers and policy makers," writes Andrea Calderon Irazoque in this in-depth article on AgMIP's web site covering the many research articles presented in the Climate Change piece.

What is AgMIP? The Agricultural model Intercomparisons and Improvement (AgMIP) project is a distributed climate-scenario simulation exercise for historical model intercomparisons and future climate change conditions with participation of 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. - Learn more via our AgMIP Research Project description.

 Read blog story by the AgMIP team: Agriculture under threat

Go straight to the Nature edition Focus: A new climate for farming

Cecilia Schubert works with Communications at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). IFPRI currently hosts CCAFS Theme on Policy Analysis, and is co-leading the economics team within AgMIP, with a focus on global and regional modeling.