AGU Side Meeting on Water for the Food Baskets Grand Challenge

Dec 12, 2018 | Washington, DC

Minutes of AGU Side Meeting on the
GEWEX “Water for the Food Baskets of the World” Grand Challenge


Roy Rasmussen, Fei Chen, Andreas Prein, Peter Van Oevelen (Director, International GEWEX Program Office) and Graeme Stevens (Co-Chair GEWEX Scientific Steering Group)


Boram Lee, Craig Ferguson, Roy Tirthankar, Chris DeBeer, Jin Huang, Gustavo Coelbo, Rachel von Gnechten, Rick Lawford, Ana Nunbs, Changhai Liu, Chuck Kroll, Tomas Halenka, Laurent Lassabatere, Angelica Caseri, Carina Furusho, Alex Ruane, Iman Haquiqi, Gab Abramowitz, Tim Schneider

Meeting Minutes:

7:00-7:10 Welcome and aim of the meeting (Roy Rasmussen – NCAR)

7:10-7:25 Overview of the GEWEX lead Water for the Food Baskets of the World grand challenge (Peter Van Oevelen – GEWEX)

7:25-7:40 Convection-permitting climate modeling as the main research tool for water research of the future (Andreas Prein – NCAR)

7:40-7:55 Challenges in state-of-the-art agricultural modeling (Fei Chen – NCAR)

7:55-8:30 Discussion

Proposed Experiments

The central US region is one focus area to build modeling capabilities and establish collaborations among different disciplines (e.g., atmospheric science, agricultural science, hydrology). This region is important for US and global food production, experienced major changes in agricultural practices and intensity over recent decades, and is a data-rich region, which allows for proper model evaluations.

Two 50-yearlong regional convection-permitting (~4 km model grid spacing) climate simulations will be performed. One with and one without human effects on agriculture and hydrology. These two experiments will provide insights into agricultural impacts on the weather and climate of the central US. The goal is to build modeling capabilities to predict future human-climate interactions on seasonal to centennial scales.

Questions and Comments:

Should we use spectral nudging in such simulations?
A central US domain should be well constrained and could be run without nudging of the lateral boundary conditions.
Does the lateral boundary forcing include agricultural impacts that we want to capture?
The inclusion of socioeconomic impacts in such simulations is important if we want to use them for future predictions since agricultural management decisions are often overwriting physical reasoning.
The use of dynamical agriculture models would be beneficial.


  • Meteorological, hydrological, and agricultural observations are often not shared or hard to get. GEWEX and the WCRP could help to collect/get access to the necessary data.
  • How should we include changes in irrigation these simulations?
    State-level data on irrigation and agriculture is much better than national data.
  • Connect to USDA and USGCRP for dataset collection/availability.

Ways to Include the Scientific Community

  • The idea of using a model testbed was discussed. Such a testbed would allow other modeling communities to develop and evaluate their modeling systems without the need for large computational resources.

Next Steps:

  • The GEWEX office will organize monthly webinars to further discuss community activities and knowledge exchange.
  • NCAR will update the white paper on the Water for the Food Baskets grand challenge and will share it with the community.
  • The GEWEX office will update the webpage on the Water for the Food Baskets Grand Challenge. The webpage should facilitate efficient communication and information exchange within the community.
  • A workshop on the Water for the Food Baskets Grand Challenge will be organized in 2019.
  • A Townhall will be held at the EGU in Vienna in 2019.