Calibration induced uncertainty of the EPIC model to estimate climate change impact on global maize yield

Xiong, W., Skalsky, R. ORCID:, Porter, C.H., Balkovic, J. ORCID:, Jones, J.W., & Yang, D. (2016). Calibration induced uncertainty of the EPIC model to estimate climate change impact on global maize yield. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 8 (3) 1358-1375. 10.1002/2016MS000625.

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Project: The terrestrial Carbon cycle under Climate Variability and Extremes – a Pan-European synthesis (CARBO-EXTREME, FP7 226701)


Understanding the interactions between agricultural production and climate is necessary for sound decision-making in climate policy. Gridded and high-resolution crop simulation has emerged as a useful tool for building this understanding. Large uncertainty exists in this utilization, obstructing its capacity as a tool to devise adaptation strategies. Increasing focus has been given to sources of uncertainties for climate scenarios, input-data, and model, but uncertainties due to model parameter or calibration are still unknown. Here, we use publicly available geographical datasets as input to the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate model (EPIC) for simulating global gridded maize yield. Impacts of climate change are assessed up to the year 2099 under a climate scenario generated by HadEM2-ES under RCP 8.5. We apply five strategies by shifting one specific parameter in each simulation to calibrate the model and understand the effects of calibration. Regionalizing crop phenology or harvest index appears effective to calibrate the model for the globe, but using various values of phenology generates pronounced difference in estimated climate impact. However, projected impacts of climate change on global maize production are consistently negative regardless of the parameter being adjusted. Different values of model parameter results in a modest uncertainty at global level, with difference of the global yield change less than 30% by the 2080s. The uncertainty subjects to decrease if applying model calibration or input data quality control. Calibration has a larger effect at local scales, implying the possible types and locations for adaptation

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2016 09:10
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:27

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