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Pioneering agricultural impact modeling climatologist wins 2022 World Food Prize | 2022-05-05

NASA scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a renowned climatologist and agronomist who founded a global project to model the impact of climate change on food supplies, was announced Thursday as the winner of the 2022 World Food Prize.

Rosenzweig, a former farmer who led the first assessment of the impact of climate change on agriculture in 1985, went on to be lead author or coordinator of three global assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , or IPCC.

The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), which she founded, is a global, transdisciplinary network of climate and food systems modelers working to improve predictions of the effects of climate change on agriculture.

Rosenzweig “has spent four decades cultivating our understanding of the biophysical and socio-economic impacts that climate change and food systems have on each other,” said World Food Prize Foundation President Barbara Stinson. , announcing the award at a ceremony at the State Department.

Rosenzweig’s work shows “that data-driven strategies curb the impacts of climate change and at the same time improve sustainable food production,” Stinson said, calling AgMIT a “world reference in climate and weather modeling.” food systems”.

Rosenzweig, who said she was “delighted and honored to receive the World Food Prize this year because food systems are becoming a key driver of climate change,” is a senior fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NASA, a professor at Barnard College and a principal investigator at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

According to a biography provided by the foundation, Rosenzweig’ developed her interest in agriculture after she and her husband, Arthur, moved to Italy and started a farm, growing vegetables and fruit and raising chickens. , goats and pigs.

When they returned to New York in 1972, she completed a two-year degree in agriculture at a technical college, then the couple started Blue Heron Farm in New York to grow sweet corn, Indian corn and cucumbers.

This agricultural experience helped her “understand the importance of centering farmers on agricultural research,” Stinson said.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, speaking in a recorded message, described Rosenzweig as “one of the first scientists to document that climate change is already impacting the culture of our food supply. “

She launched AgMIP “to significantly improve agricultural models and scientific and technological capabilities to assess the impacts of climate variability and change, as well as other driving forces on agriculture, food security and poverty, from local to global,” Vilsack said.

Gabesa Ejeta, who chairs the WFP selection committee and is a 2009 laureate, said Rosenzweig’s work has shown “the growing power and importance of scientific collaboration to better understand the effects of climate change on agriculture and food systems, as well as the value of using scientific evidence to inform decisions on local, national and global mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The award is accompanied by a $250,000 scholarship.

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