The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

Looking Beyond and Coming Together: Using NASA and AgMIP Tools for Food and Agriculture

By Grace Pender

On Wednesday, October 19,  a panel of NASA experts provided insights into the climate work of NASA and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) during the World Food Prize Foundation’s Borlaug Dialogue.

Speakers included:

  • Cynthia Rosenzweig, senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and 2022 World Food Prize Laureate,
  • Alex Ruane, research physical scientist at GISS and the science coordinator for AgMIP,
  • Laure Tall, research director at Initiative Prospective Agricole er Rurale (IPAR), and 
  • Karen St. Germain, division director of the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at the NASA headquarters.

AgMIP is dedicated to systematically predicting conditions impacting crop growth. Collaboration has led to 1,200 experts and 50 protocol-based activities focused on predicting conditions impacting agriculture. 

“In ways of partnering together, we will be able to address these challenges,” St. Germain said. “I mean partnering with state, local, tribal governments and the private sector around the world.”

Our aim is to “increase food production while adapting to climate change, mitigating emission, and maintaining financial incentives,” Ruane said. 

In an attempt to predict and prevent climate change's effects, experts within the field of agronomy, economy, and climatology have created diverse models reflecting its various impacts. “We have developed climate projection, crop simulation, representative agricultural pathways, and economic models," Tall explained.

A breakout session later in the day featured additional NASA speakers and other experts in crop modeling.

The panelists recognized Rosenzweig’s achievements as well as discussed the challenges posed by climate change and innovative technology created to foster resiliency on a local and global scale.

Specifically, individuals highlighted their efforts in their respective countries.

“We have a climate change model that shows what was happening on a field level up to providential level,” said Wiltrud Durand of South Africa. 

The session ended by turning the conversation back to the audience, allowing individuals to share ideas with the panelists and one another. 

Panelists in the breakout session “Using NASA and AgMIP Tools for Food and Agriculture” included:

  • Rosenzweig,
  • Jonas Jägermeyr, associate research scientist, Columbia University Climate School and NASA GISS,
  • Gavin Schmidt, director, NASA GISS,
  • Bruno Basso, professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Michigan State University,
  • Geethalakshmi Vellingiri, vice chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University,
  • Wiltrud Durand, specialist, GIS and crop modeling, Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, South Africa,
  • Mario Herrero, professor, Department of Global Development, Cornell University,
  • Ghulam Hussain, senior consultant, technical coordination and partnership management, CIMMYT, and
  • Sabine Homann-Kee Tui, social scientist, Enabling Systems Transformation Research Program, ICRISAT.

Grace Pender is a student at Drake University studying Law, Politics, and Society, History, and Rhetoric, Media, and Social Change. She is currently a Communications and Public Relations George Washington Carver intern at the World Food Prize Foundation.

10/19/2022 10:05 PM
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