Adaptation in Agricultural Systems

Working Group Leaders

Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott
phone: +49 (0)331 288 2655

Dr. Bernhard Schauberger
phone: +49 (0)331 288 20890

Resilient agricultural development

How to establish resilient agricultural systems in the tropics? In the face of climate change, agricultural production in the tropics will become more challenging. Therefore, smart adaptation strategies are needed to help farmers cope with current and future climate perils. PIK’s working group on “Adaptation in Agricultural Systems” conducts climate impact analyses. This comprises the three pillars of risk monitoring (by analysing weather impacts and the forecasting of weather or yields), risk management (the identification, assessment and recommendation of suitable adaptation strategies) and eventually effective risk transfer mechanisms (such as insurance solutions). The working group thus investigates the full impact chain, aiming to inform adaptation policies and private sector investments for a resilient, low-carbon and sustainable agricultural development.

The AAS working group is composed of crop modellers, meteorologists, climate physicists, agricultural economists and social scientists. Research activities span three continents, including projects in East and West Africa (Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Mali), Latin America (Peru) and Asia (India, Central Asia). For dissemination, the working group engages with different stakeholders from the public and private sector, such as representatives from agricultural ministries or insurance companies. There is also strong collaboration with different working groups at PIK and other research institutes: Hydroclimatic Risks and Land Use and Resilience, the PIK FutureLabs on Inequality, Human Well-Being and Development and Social Metabolism and Impact as well as the ISIMIP project.

Research objectives

  • Risk monitoring:
    • Developing an agricultural forecasting approach which provides information about crop yields within the current growing season and in-season weather patterns relevant for crop growth
    • Analysis of the economic implications of climate change and how climate change can hamper a resilient development, e.g. related to food security, planetary health, and rural poverty
  • Risk management: Evaluation of suitable adaptation strategies to cope with climate change and to help farmers stabilize their food production
  • Risk transfer: Designing insurance solutions as a climate adaptation strategy which supports a resilient agricultural development


The effect of climate change on weather patterns and crop production is analysed using biophysical and empirical impact modelling combined with (sub-)seasonal forecasting. This is complemented by economic evaluation and socio-ecological, qualitative analysis. A key focus of the group centres on crop modelling, with crop modellers continuously developing, calibrating and adapting a range of process-based, mechanistic and statistical models, such as the AMPLIFY model developed at PIK (AMPLIFY: Agricultural Model for Production Loss Identification to Insure Failures of Yields), LPJmL, DSSAT and APSIM.

  • Semi-empirical (crop forecasting) models based on statistical relationships, process-based components, causal discovery algorithms and machine-learning algorithms techniques which integrate weather and remote-sensing satellite data (e.g. AMPLIFY)
  • Econometric methods to analyze household survey data and randomized control trials
  • Process-based crop models (e.g. SWIM, LPJmL, DSSAT, APSIM) to capture bio-physical relationships

Current projects

  • Agrica_Sahel: Climate risk analyses for adaptation planning in sub-Saharan Africa [BMZ] (01.01.2021-31.12.2023)
  • CCH PI3: Climate change and health in sub-Saharan Africa - PI_3 Weather-related impacts on crop yields and food production [DFG] (January 2020 - December 2022)
  • C2P2: A symbiotic agent-based network platform linking expert knowledge and machine learning for systemic risk mitigation [Columbia University]  (December 2018 - February 2022)
  • EPICC-East Africa Peru India Climate Capacities: [BMU] (January 2018 - February 2021)
  • GhanAgrica: A district-level case study in Ghana on climate risks and adaptation strategies for the agriculture sector [GIZ] (01.11.2019-30.04.2021)
  • Geo.X: Integrating remote sensing and mixed social-science methods for studying climate impacts and adaptation in tropical agroecosystems [Deutsches Geoforschungszentrum (GFZ)] (November 2019 - Oktober 2022)


For the AAS Intranet, please click here.

For more detailed information on this working group, such as how to participate in projects, please contact: Prof. Dr. Christoph Gornott ( or Dr. Bernhard Schauberger (