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Maiorano A.,Montpellier SupAgro | Martre P.,Montpellier SupAgro | Asseng S.,University of Florida | Ewert F.,University of Bonn | And 39 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2016

To improve climate change impact estimates and to quantify their uncertainty, multi-model ensembles (MMEs) have been suggested. Model improvements can improve the accuracy of simulations and reduce the uncertainty of climate change impact assessments. Furthermore, they can reduce the number of models needed in a MME. Herein, 15 wheat growth models of a larger MME were improved through re-parameterization and/or incorporating or modifying heat stress effects on phenology, leaf growth and senescence, biomass growth, and grain number and size using detailed field experimental data from the USDA Hot Serial Cereal experiment (calibration data set). Simulation results from before and after model improvement were then evaluated with independent field experiments from a CIMMYT world-wide field trial network (evaluation data set). Model improvements decreased the variation (10th to 90th model ensemble percentile range) of grain yields simulated by the MME on average by 39% in the calibration data set and by 26% in the independent evaluation data set for crops grown in mean seasonal temperatures >24. °C. MME mean squared error in simulating grain yield decreased by 37%. A reduction in MME uncertainty range by 27% increased MME prediction skills by 47%. Results suggest that the mean level of variation observed in field experiments and used as a benchmark can be reached with half the number of models in the MME. Improving crop models is therefore important to increase the certainty of model-based impact assessments and allow more practical, i.e. smaller MMEs to be used effectively. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Doltra J.,Cantabrian Agricultural Research and Training Center | Olesen J.E.,University of Aarhus | Chirinda N.,Aereo
European Journal of Agronomy | Year: 2015

Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture should be assessed across cropping systems and agroclimatic regions. In this study, we investigate the ability of the FASSET model to analyze differences in the magnitude of N2O emissions due to soil, climate and management factors in cereal-based cropping systems. Forage maize was grown in a conventional dairy system at Mabegondo (NW Spain) and wheat and barley in organic and conventional crop rotations at Foulum (NW Denmark). These two European sites represent agricultural areas with high and low to moderate emission levels, respectively. Field trials included plots with and without catch crops that were fertilized with either mineral N fertilizer, cattle slurry, pig slurry or digested manure. Non-fertilized treatments were also included. Measurements of N2O fluxes during the growing cycle of all the crops at both sites were performed with the static chamber method with more frequent measurements post-fertilization and biweekly measurements when high fluxes were not expected. All cropping systems were simulated with the FASSET version 2.5 simulation model. Cumulative soil seasonal N2O emissions were about ten-fold higher at Mabegondo than at Foulum when averaged across systems and treatments (8.99 and 0.71kgN2O-Nha-1, respectively). The average simulated cumulative soil N2O emissions were 9.03 and 1.71kgN2O-Nha-1 at Mabegondo and at Foulum, respectively. Fertilization, catch crops and cropping systems had lower influence on the seasonal soil N2O fluxes than the environmental factors. Overall, in its current version FASSET reproduced the effects of the different factors investigated on the cumulative seasonal soil N2O emissions but temporally it overestimated emissions from nitrification and denitrification on particular days when soil operations, ploughing or fertilization, took place. The errors associated with simulated daily soil N2O fluxes increased with the magnitude of the emissions. For resolving causes of differences in simulated and measured fluxes more intensive and temporally detailed measurements of N2O fluxes and soil C and N dynamics would be needed. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Asseng S.,University of Florida | Ewert F.,University of Bonn | Martre P.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Martre P.,University Blaise Pascal | And 57 more authors.
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2015

Crop models are essential tools for assessing the threat of climate change to local and global food production. Present models used to predict wheat grain yield are highly uncertain when simulating how crops respond to temperature. Here we systematically tested 30 different wheat crop models of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project against field experiments in which growing season mean temperatures ranged from 15°C to 32°C, including experiments with artificial heating. Many models simulated yields well, but were less accurate at higher temperatures. The model ensemble median was consistently more accurate in simulating the crop temperature response than any single model, regardless of the input information used. Extrapolating the model ensemble temperature response indicates that warming is already slowing yield gains at a majority of wheat-growing locations. Global wheat production is estimated to fall by 6% for each °C of further temperature increase and become more variable over space and time. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Martre P.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Martre P.,University Blaise Pascal | Wallach D.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Asseng S.,University of Florida | And 49 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2015

Crop models of crop growth are increasingly used to quantify the impact of global changes due to climate or crop management. Therefore, accuracy of simulation results is a major concern. Studies with ensembles of crop models can give valuable information about model accuracy and uncertainty, but such studies are difficult to organize and have only recently begun. We report on the largest ensemble study to date, of 27 wheat models tested in four contrasting locations for their accuracy in simulating multiple crop growth and yield variables. The relative error averaged over models was 24-38% for the different end-of-season variables including grain yield (GY) and grain protein concentration (GPC). There was little relation between error of a model for GY or GPC and error for in-season variables. Thus, most models did not arrive at accurate simulations of GY and GPC by accurately simulating preceding growth dynamics. Ensemble simulations, taking either the mean (e-mean) or median (e-median) of simulated values, gave better estimates than any individual model when all variables were considered. Compared to individual models, e-median ranked first in simulating measured GY and third in GPC. The error of e-mean and e-median declined with an increasing number of ensemble members, with little decrease beyond 10 models. We conclude that multimodel ensembles can be used to create new estimators with improved accuracy and consistency in simulating growth dynamics. We argue that these results are applicable to other crop species, and hypothesize that they apply more generally to ecological system models. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Ruane A.C.,NASA | Hudson N.I.,Columbia University | Asseng S.,University of Florida | Camarrano D.,University of Florida | And 52 more authors.
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2016

We compare 27 wheat models' yield responses to interannual climate variability, analyzed at locations in Argentina, Australia, India, and The Netherlands as part of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) Wheat Pilot. Each model simulated 1981-2010 grain yield, and we evaluate results against the interannual variability of growing season temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation. The amount of information used for calibration has only a minor effect on most models' climate response, and even small multi-model ensembles prove beneficial. Wheat model clusters reveal common characteristics of yield response to climate; however models rarely share the same cluster at all four sites indicating substantial independence. Only a weak relationship (R2 ≤ 0.24) was found between the models' sensitivities to interannual temperature variability and their response to long-term warming, suggesting that additional processes differentiate climate change impacts from observed climate variability analogs and motivating continuing analysis and model development efforts. © 2016.

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