Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: ISI-MIP (Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project)  (Read 1922 times)


  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2270
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 5
  • Likes Given: 0
ISI-MIP (Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project)
« on: January 09, 2014, 07:13:16 PM »
Systemic Research and Modeling

Recently on the Forum a link was provided to the results of a large interdisciplinary study on the prognosis for industrial agriculture to feed the world.  Upon following the links I realized that a very large interdisciplinary effort is underway to attempt to fill in a lot of the gaps in systemic analysis of the effects of climate change across a broad range of subject areas as we are always talking about.  This is the ISI-MIP effort. The Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project.  It is jointly managed by the Potsdam Institute and The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.  This effort draws upon the IPCC AR reports and various other research on such subjects as agriculture, disease, etc. and provides a more systems based results. 

Note: I must admit that back in mid-summer someone mentioned this effort and it passed over my head and I did not realize it existed until about a week ago from another post linking recent results published by PNAS.  After the last few days of reading about this work I think we have missed a very relevant and large effort that is oriented along the lines of just what many of us have been advocating. So I am going to provide some overview in this 1st post and then start digging down into their work in a series of posts.  I think at this point multiple topics might arise from this work (they do certainly intend to perform work at a complex level) so if anyone wants to split a section off into its own topic feel free.  So some version of general info about the effort here and specific subjects in separate topics?? I am going to start another topic on Agriculture and Water.

From the PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) page:

ISI-MIP is a community-driven modelling effort with the goal of providing cross-sectoral global impact assessments, based on the newly developed climate [Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)] and socio-economic [Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs)] scenarios.

Based on common background scenarios (climate and socio-economic), a quantitative estimate of impacts and uncertainties for different sectors and from multiple impact models will be derived. From this, policy relevant and society-focused metrics will be deducted.

This initiative, coordinated by a team at PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) with support from IIASA (The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis)  and backing from the IPCC Working Groups II and III  , aims to provide fast-track outcomes for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Further it hopes to initiate a longer-term coordinated impact assessment effort driven by the entire impact community.


A large number of studies of mitigation pathways and strategies have shown that achieving a 2° world is much more ambitious and costly than a 3° world.  Therefore there is a great need for comprehensive understanding and quantification of the differences between multiple levels of global warming in terms of impacts from climate change.

However, currently uncertainties in and fragmentation of knowledge on impacts are large. A global, cross-sectoral, quantitative synthesis of climate impacts, including consistent estimates of uncertainties, is missing so far.

Furthermore, a better, quantitative understanding of impacts will enable the derivation of efficient impact emulators. These have the ability to enhance integrated assessment studies with the impact and adaptation dimensions.


The timeline for the first year is dominated by the deadline for Working Group II for the IPCC AR5. Around 18 teams maintaining global impact models from the sectors agriculture (including agro-economic models), water, ecosystems, infrastructure and health have been invited to join this fast-track effort. They will be provided with pre-processed input data (climate and socio-economic data, based on CMIP 5, using as many scenarios as are available, and SSPs). This will ensure basic harmonization. Results have to be returned by July 1 2012. A kick-off workshop in February 2012 and a results workshop in September 2012 will provide opportunity to discuss comparison within sectors as well as appropriate synthesis metrics within and across sectors.

A special issue of the PNAS will be submitted containing sectoral papers as well as a synthesis paper prepared by the coordination team. An international impact conference in May 2013 will evaluate the projects and the state of the art in impact research, and will provide space for the community to discuss further long-term efforts.

A number of the papers mentioned are in pre-publication electronic form on the PNAS site for review (as of Jan 8, 2014) and info on those papers is at the end of this post.

Here is the general description of the project from the joint managing organization II-ASA

This study is co-managed by The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis located in Laxenburg, near Vienna, Austria with PIK.  Per the II-ASA web site the Institute "conducts policy-oriented research into problems of a global nature that are too large or too complex to be solved by a single country or academic discipline". 

A pioneering collaboration within the international scientific community provides comprehensive projections of climate change effects, ranging from risks to crop yields to the spread of malaria.

The analyses were published today in a special feature of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that assembles the first results of the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP), which aims at bringing research on climate impacts onto a new level. The ISI-MIP project is jointly coordinated by IIASA and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK), and involves a consortium of researchers around the world.

More than 30 research teams from 12 countries systematically compared computer simulations of climate change impacts on a broad range of sectors.  The project builds on previous inter-comparison exercises from the fields of agriculture, hydrology, and ecosystems sciences. Results are combined to identify, for example, regional hotspots of climate change – the Amazon, the Mediterranean and East Africa - where several impact types coincide and potentially interact. Moreover, comparing models helps to understand the differences between them. For example, projections of impacts on food prices are affected by different assumptions about the intensification of land management or changes in international trade.  Elucidating the various influences of these measures could help to identify options for effective real-world policies.

The climate change impacts picture remains far from complete, in particular with regard to socio-economic consequences,” says Pavel Kabat, IIASA director general and CEO, who co-edited the special feature and contributed to several papers. “The human costs of climate change are often triggered by the biophysical impacts, but are not identical to the impacts themselves. For example, water shortages in some regions might contribute to human conflicts and drive large-scale migration. We already have enough certainty today about climate change impacts to recognize it is high time to act.  But as scientists we will work hard to further integrate and strengthen the existing expertise to better see the elephant in the room – and just how dangerous the mighty beast really is.......

I have pasted info to find a number of the reports which were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  They are hard to find since they are still in pre-pub electronic status at this time and not in a specific publication with a date associated with it, but this should allow you to find the pdf's.  Anyone who finds others please post info on how to find them.

Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print December 16, 2013,  doi:10.1073/pnas.1222463110

Constraints and potentials of future irrigation water availability on agricultural production under climate change PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print December 16, 2013,  doi:10.1073/pnas.1222474110

Climate change effects on agriculture: Economic responses to biophysical shocks PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print December 16, 2013,  doi:10.1073/pnas.1222465110

Multisectoral climate impact hotspots in a warming world PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print December 16, 2013,  doi:10.1073/pnas.1222471110

Hydrological droughts in the 21st century, hotspots and uncertainties from a global multimodel ensemble experiment PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print December 16, 2013,  doi:10.1073/pnas.1222473110
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein