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  • Reduced water security on rainfed crops

    Climate change impact: implication of methodology on conclusions
  • Climate change impact: implication of methodology on conclusions
  • Climate change impact: implication of methodology on conclusions
  • Climate change impact: implication of methodology on conclusions
  • Climate change impact: implication of methodology on conclusions

Climate change impact: implication of methodology on conclusions

The nature of the impact between climate, water and agriculture can be complex but this research tested the validity of a simplified assessment approach and compared its results to those from more sophisticated modelling approaches.

In many developing countries, the single largest risk to livelihoods from climate change comes from the impact of reduced water security on rainfed crops. This is now receiving increasing attention from governments and donors and features in many National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs).

The nature of the impact between climate, water and agriculture can be complex but this research tested the validity of a simplified assessment approach and compared its results to those from more sophisticated modelling approaches.

The research developed a method using a simple spreadsheet model based on four key equations that are fundamental to FAO Irrigation and Drainage Papers 24, 33 and 56.

The research selected five country case studies in which sophisticated models have been used to assess the impact of climate change on agriculture - Yemen, Mozambique, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Morocco.

The simple framework was applied to the same five country case studies using same assumptions of climate change. The results using the simple framework were compared with those from the more complex modelling approaches to assess the value added by using the more sophisticated models.

The research addressed the following questions:

The differences in projected changes in crop yield between the simplified approach and those of the more sophisticated detailed models for the five case country case studies are shown in the figure above. Whilst there are some differences in the estimates, the simple framework generally produced results that are within 10% to 20% of the more sophisticated, data hungry and resource intensive analyses. Where differences were found, the research investigated and explained why these occurred and identified parameters and sensitivities responsible for the differences.

Conclusions

The research concluded that the simple framework has a role to play in climate impact assessments as a rapid analysis tool because of its low cost, speed of application, reliance on readily available datasets, and transparency of use. The simple framework can be usefully applied where a more detailed, sophisticated climate change impact analysis cannot be justified. The simple framework could also be used to support climate adaptation as a capacity building and training tool to enable practitioners to understand better the complex linkages between climate, water resources and agriculture under different scenarios and timeframes.

Authors

Nigel Walmsley; Chris Counsell; Kit Nicolson; Jemima Rance

Keywords

climate change; water resources; agriculture; crop yield; water security; food security

Completed

2012

"The simple framework has a role to play in climate impact assessments as a rapid analysis tool because of its low cost, speed of application, reliance on readily available datasets, and transparency of use."

Contact

Giovanni Cuomo

Giovanni Cuomo

Research Director

+44 (0)1491 822 414

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