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A calibration procedure to improve global rice yield simulations with EPIC

Wei Xiong, Juraj Balkovič, Marijn van der Velde, Xuesong Zhang, R. César Izaurralde, Rastislav Skalský, Erda Lin, Nathan Mueller and Michael Obersteiner

Ecological Modelling, 2014, vol. 273, issue C, 128-139

Abstract: Crop models are increasingly used to assess impacts of climate change/variability and management practices on productivity and environmental performance of alternative cropping systems. Calibration is an important procedure to improve reliability of model simulations, especially for large area applications. However, global-scale crop model calibration has rarely been exercised due to limited data availability and expensive computing cost. Here we present a simple approach to calibrate Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model for a global implementation of rice. We identify four parameters (potential heat unit – PHU, planting density – PD, harvest index – HI, and biomass energy ratio – BER) and calibrate them regionally to capture the spatial pattern of reported rice yield in 2000. Model performance is assessed by comparing simulated outputs with independent FAO national data. The comparison demonstrates that the global calibration scheme performs satisfactorily in reproducing the spatial pattern of rice yield, particularly in main rice production areas. Spatial agreement increases substantially when more parameters are selected and calibrated, but with varying efficiencies. Among the parameters, PHU and HI exhibit the highest efficiencies in increasing the spatial agreement. Simulations with different calibration strategies generate a pronounced discrepancy of 5–35% in mean yields across latitude bands, and a small to moderate difference in estimated yield variability and yield changing trend for the period of 1981–2000. Present calibration has little effects in improving simulated yield variability and trends at both regional and global levels, suggesting further works are needed to reproduce temporal variability of reported yields. This study highlights the importance of crop models’ calibration, and presents the possibility of a transparent and consistent up scaling approach for global crop simulations given current availability of global databases of weather, soil, crop calendar, fertilizer and irrigation management information, and reported yield.

Keywords: Global calibration; Crop model; Rice; EPIC (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecomod:v:273:y:2014:i:c:p:128-139