Adaptation in Agricultural Systems

Adaptation in Agricultural Systems

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.

Working Group Leader

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

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

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

Selected projects

  • Agrica_Sahel: The goal of this project is to develop comprehensive climate risk analyses for the agricultural sector in the Sahel region and, with these analyses, to guide policy and decision makers in identifying and evaluating effective adaptation strategies. The project is funded by the BMZ and jointly implemented with the GIZ.
    Duration: January 2021 - December 2023
  • CCH PI3 - Climate change and health in sub-Saharan Africa: This project looks at weather-related and non-weather-related yield losses for key crops in different sub-Saharan African countries and their link to health, including food security, malnutrition and mortality. In this way, it can provide information on crop losses and help smallholder farmers to adjust their agronomic management in the face of climate change. The project is funded by the DFG.
    Duration: January 2020 - December 2022
  • ClimSec Sahel: The goal of this project is to setup an early warning assessment tool for climate-related threats to food security and their implications for food-related health issues, migration and conflicts in the Sahel. This tool will allow for recommendations for science-based political interventions in this region. The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.
    Duration: November 2018 - December 2020

For an overview of all projects, please click here.

For the AAS Intranet, please click here.


Project Coordinator