Uncertainty Analysis of Coupled Socioeconomic-Cropping Models: Building Confidence in Climate Change Decision-Support Tools for Local Stakeholders

Friday, 18 December 2015: 10:20
3003 (Moscone West)
Marcela Rojas1, Julien Jean Malard1, Jan F Adamowski1, Juventino Gálvez2, Héctor Antonio Tuy2 and Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez1, (1)McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, (2)Universidad Rafael Landívar, Institute of Agriculture, Nat. Resources and the Environment, Guatemala City, Guatemala
While cropping models represent the biophysical aspects of agricultural systems, system dynamics modelling offers the possibility of representing the socioeconomic (including social and cultural) aspects of these systems. The two types of models can then be coupled in order to include the socioeconomic dimensions of climate change adaptation in the predictions of cropping models.We develop a dynamically coupled socioeconomic-biophysical model of agricultural production and its repercussions on food security in two case studies from Guatemala (a market-based, intensive agricultural system and a low-input, subsistence crop-based system). Through the specification of the climate inputs to the cropping model, the impacts of climate change on the entire system can be analysed, and the participatory nature of the system dynamics model-building process, in which stakeholders from NGOs to local governmental extension workers were included, helps ensure local trust in and use of the model.However, the analysis of climate variability’s impacts on agroecosystems includes uncertainty, especially in the case of joint physical-socioeconomic modelling, and the explicit representation of this uncertainty in the participatory development of the models is important to ensure appropriate use of the models by the end users. In addition, standard model calibration, validation, and uncertainty interval estimation techniques used for physically-based models are impractical in the case of socioeconomic modelling. We present a methodology for the calibration and uncertainty analysis of coupled biophysical (cropping) and system dynamics (socioeconomic) agricultural models, using survey data and expert input to calibrate and evaluate the uncertainty of the system dynamics as well as of the overall coupled model. This approach offers an important tool for local decision makers to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change and their feedbacks through the associated socioeconomic system.