Climate and Crop Modeling

The team’s Climate-Agriculture activities focus on how climate change is affecting food production in East Africa and Zambia. CLIP has developed regionally specific climate and crop models to better understand the impact of local-level climate processes on crop growth processes. The team provides data, information, and maps for countries to better adapt to the negative impacts of climate change.

Understanding climate change effects on food production will allow policy-makers to develop successful climate change adaptation strategies.]

Past efforts to develop crop varieties and management practices resilient to climatic changes have been limited by coarse, global-scale models. CLIP is using high resolution, downscaled climate models. The climate models are linked to a spatially explicit crop model that is calibrated to local maize, groundnut, dry bean cultivars, and to local soils and climate. The result is a better representation of the impact of local to macro scale climatic processes on crop growth and development. We are thus testing a range of crop cultivars and management practices to compare how they perform under current and future climate conditions.

Household Food Security

Climate variability impacts on household food security are a function of the type of farming system, location, wealth, and gender of household head. The team is conducting an econometric analysis of household survey data to identify how climate variability since 1990 has affected farm crop production and household food security across Zambia and Kenya, and how household factors such as wealth, agricultural technologies practiced and gender of head of household have affected their vulnerability or resilience to climate.

Nationally representative farm household survey data in Zambia and Kenya is providing the basis for modeling household production and income-earning activities in major agroecological zones. It is also being used to evaluate the impact of climate and weather factors on household food security outcomes.

Projected future food production data from the crop-climate modeling is being incorporated into household models to identify the impact of climate change on future household production, farm and off-farm incomes, and food security. The result will be a prototype model that would provide household-to national-level information on impacts of recent and future climate change and variability.

Survey and modeling results are being shared with national level policy makers, researchers, donors, and surveyed communities in gender-disaggregated focus groups.

Selected communities in various agro-ecological zones in Zambia and Kenya were selected to provide critical contexutal information on the current impacts of climate change, and how people are responding. The team is returning to these communities to present results of the modeling, and to discuss possible adaptation approaches.