Building a better understanding of how climate change will impact Uruguay’s agriculture sectors

28 – 31 March, 2017, Montevideo, Uruguay - The Uruguay Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans (NAP-Ag) Team organized and hosted the first in series of three training workshops on how to use the Modelling System for Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change (MOSAICC). During the initial stages of the NAP-Ag Programme, it was determined that there was a need to build a better understanding of how to measure and assess the estimated impact of climate change on agricultural production.

The use of tools, such as MOSAICC, provides national experts in universities and institutes with an opportunity to analyze local weather patterns and model predictions of the impacts of climate change on the agriculture sectors. They will also strengthen the technical capacity and evidence-based decision-making abilities of policymakers as they develop the country’s National Adaptation Plan. Uruguay is a country with a strong agricultural industry that accounts for 8 percent of the national GDP and 72 percent of total exports. Climate variability and climate change are the main drivers of the vulnerability of primary production systems, which is why it is important to be able to develop climate change adaptation plans and budgets that reflect more accurate future scenarios.

MOSAICC was developed by FAO as an integrated package of models for assessing the impact of climate change on the agriculture sectors. This tool will be used at the national level by a multidisciplinary group, including representatives from the University of the Republic, National Agricultural Research Institute, National Institute of Meteorology, and Ministry of Agriculture. The group is focusing on assessing climate change at the local level and the impact of climate change on crop production in Uruguay. 

Vanessa Bentancur and Mariana Molinari, students of Atmospheric Sciences at the School of Engineering, said that, "We are in the process of choosing a research project for our final thesis and we are thinking on how to use what we have learned to integrate the statistical methods we have learned in school to real problems. For example, what is the impact of heat waves like the one we had last February? What is the economic impact of the changes in temperature? What happens with temperature variability? During this week we came up with interesting questions for future research.” 

The training for the first module of MOSAICC, presented by Dr. Rodrigo Manzanas from the Santander Meteorology Group of the University of Cantabria, was held from 28 to 31 March in Montevideo. It was a practical training that explained the tools for statistical downscaling of climate scenarios while utilizing local weather information. The training involved 11 national experts – two from the National Institute of Meteorology, one from the National Agricultural Research Institute, two from the Institute of Mechanics and Fluids and Environmental Engineering of the School of Engineering, three from the School of Science, one from the School of Agronomy, two from the Division of Natural Resources and one from Office of Agricultural Policy and Programing of the Ministry of Agriculture. 

The participants showed great interest in the activity and the application of the results on ongoing projects. They also expressed an interest in extending the work to include how to use MOSAICC tools to model the impact of climate change on forage and grassland production as well as livestock production, which is an important economic and social activity in Uruguay.

The Integrating Agriculture into National Adaptation Plans (NAP-Ag) programme, coordinated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), aims to integrate climate change adaptation concerns related to agriculture-based livelihoods into the existing national planning and budgeting processes of 11 developing countries and LDCs.

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Last Updated: 10 May 2017