Division of Agronomy

Snowmelt risk telecouplings for irrigated agriculture - Article in Nature Climate Change

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31 October 2022: Climate change is altering the timing and magnitude of snowmelt, which may either directly or indirectly via global trade affect agriculture and livelihoods dependent on snowmelt.

In an article published today in Nature Climate Change global patterns of snowmelt and agricultural water uses are analyzed together with global trade flows of agricultural products to identify regions and crops most dependent on snowmelt water resources at the location of crop production and at the location of the consumption of the products.

We estimate that 16% of snowmelt used for irrigation is for agricultural products traded globally, of which over 70% is from five countries. Globally, we observe a prodigious snowmelt dependence and risk diffusion, with particularly evident importing of products at risk in western Europe. In Germany and the UK, local fraction of surface-water-irrigated agriculture supply exposed to snowmelt risks could increase from negligible to 16% and 10%, respectively, under a 2 °C warming. For Germany, the origin of the production at risk is Spain and Italy (fruits, vegetables and maize) and Pakistan, India and China (rice products).

The Division Agronomy contributed simulation results for crop specific monthly irrigation water requirements at global scale to the study and collaborated with research teams in the United States and China.

Link to the article in Nature Climate Change
Shared-Link to the article (for readers without journal subscription

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

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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

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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

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