Division of Agronomy

Development of an operational, multisectoral global drought hazard forecasting system - project OUTLAST funded by BMBF

dry soil global

01.09.2022: Das Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the development of the first operational, multisectoral, global drought hazard forecasting system by the collaborative research project OUTLAST. The forecasting system will cover the sectors 1) water supply, 2) riverine ecosystems, 3) non-agricultural land ecosystems, 4) rainfed agriculture, and 5) irrigated agriculture. It will be implemented as a component of the Global Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and will provide, with monthly updates, spatial indicators of drought hazard for a six month forecasting period.

OUTLAST will be coordinated by the Division Agronomy with partners at the Institute of Physical Geography (IPG) of the University of Frankfurt am Main, at the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and at the International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC) at the German Federal Institute of Hydrology Koblenz. In addition, the Division Agronomy will develop operational seasonal drought forecasts for irrigated and rainfed agriculture, integrate the forecasting system into the overall multi-sectoral forecasting system, and systematically evaluate the multi-sectoral forecasting system at a global scale as well as at a regional scale in cooperation with the regional pilot users.

Contact persons at the Division Agronomy:

DFG is going to fund CRC1502 - Division Agronomy responsible for one subproject


25.11.2021: The German Research Foundation (DFG) announced 14 new Collaborative Research Centers (CRC), including CRC1502 „Regional Climate Change: The Role of Land Use and Water Management“ (DETECT).

The researchers will analyze in this CRC how human-induced land use change and intensified water management influence regional climate - leading to unintended changes in the natural regional water and energy cycle. Speaker of the CRC is Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kusche at University of Bonn. Project partners, besides University of Göttingen, will be at the Research Center Jülich, the German Meteorological Service (DWD) and University of Cologne.

The Division Agronomy will analyze in subproject B05 the impact of irrigation on the modification of local and regional water fluxes and on regional climate. The regional focus in the first project phase will be on Europe.

Additional information:
PhD student and Postdoc positions available!!!
Subproject at University of Göttingen
Website of the Collaborative Research Center
Press release 48 of the DFG announcing the 14 new collaborative research centers
Press release of the University of Bonn announcing funding of CRC1502

Contact at the Division Agronomy:

Agricultural risks from changing snowmelt - Article in Nature Climate Change


April 2021: Our article is highlighted by the editors of Nature Climate Change
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Nature Climate Change our article is highlighted as one of 11 outstanding contributions.

20 April 2020: Snowpack stores cold-season precipitation to meet warm-season water demand. Climate change threatens to disturb this balance by altering the fraction of precipitation falling as snow and the timing of snowmelt, which may have profound effects on food production in basins where irrigated agriculture relies heavily on snowmelt runoff.

In an article published today in Nature Climate Change global patterns of snowmelt and agricultural water uses are analyzed to identify regions and crops most dependent on snowmelt water resources. Hotspots exist primarily in high-mountain Asia (the Tibetan Plateau), Central Asia, western Russia, western U.S., and the southern Andes. Using projections of sub-annual runoff under warming scenarios, basins are identified that are most at risk from changing snowmelt patterns. Under the 4-degree Celsius warming scenario, the researchers project that the share of irrigation water demand met by snowmelt in the San Joaquin Basin (US) decreases from 33 percent to 18 percent. In the Colorado Basin (US), the share of water demand met by snowmelt decreases from 38 percent to 23 percent and in the River Po basin (Northern Italy) even from 29 percent to 9 percent. The study highlights basins and crops where adaptation of water management and agricultural systems may be especially critical in a changing climate.

The Division Agronomy contributed simulation results for crop specific monthly irrigation water requirements at global scale to the study and collaborated with 11 research teams from US-American universities.

Link to the article in Nature Climate Change
Link to the press release of the University of Göttingen

Contact at the Division Agronomy: