Cynthia Rosenzweig spent four decades cultivating our understanding of the biophysical and socio-economic impacts that climate change and food systems have on each other – most recently by founding the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), a global, transdisciplinary network of more than 1000 leading researchers in climate and food systems modeling.
Models are powerful computational tools used in climate, agricultural and economic research to conceptualize current interactions and project future trends. Rosenzweig is an innovator in modeling science, leading vital studies that have shaped the global debate on climate change and agriculture. An agronomist and climatologist, she has been a leader in the field of food and climate since the early 1980s. She has shaped our understanding of the tight relationship between food systems and climate change–that is, severe fluctuations in climate threaten our capacity to feed and nourish humanity while effective mitigation and adaptation strategies both curb climate change and enhance sustainable food production.
Rosenzweig realized early on that climate change is one of the most significant, pervasive and complex challenges currently facing the planet’s food systems. She completed the first transdisciplinary model projections of how climate change will affect food production in North America and globally, and she was one of the first scientists to document that climate change was already impacting the cultivation of our food supply. Her early work contributed an important methodological breakthrough in early climate change impact assessments and established the foundations for current work in this field.
Now a Senior Research Scientist and head of the Climate Impacts Group at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), part of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Rosenzweig started her career as a farmer. Her research centers farmers to plan and implement groundbreaking mechanisms that foster resilience to climate change.