Sensitivity of WOFOST-based modelling solutions to crop parameters under climate change.

2018 - Ecological Modelling, 368, 1-14.
Gilardelli, C., Confalonieri, R., Cappelli, G., Bellocchi, G.


The formalization of novel equations explicitly modelling the impact of extreme weather events into the crop model WOFOST (EMS: existing modelling solution; MMS: modified modelling solution) is proposed as a way to reduce the uncertainty in estimations of crop yield. A sensitivity analysis (SA) was performed to assess the effect of changing parameters values on the yield simulated by the model (both EMS and MMS) for different crops (winter and durum wheat, winter barley, maize, sunflower) grown under a variety of conditions (including future climate realisations) in Europe. A two-step SA was performed using global techniques: the Morris screening method for qualitative ranking of parameters was first used, followed by the eFAST variance-based method, which attributes portions of variance in the model output to each parameter. The results showed that the parameters related to the partitioning of assimilates to storage organs (FOTB) and to the conversion efficiency of photosynthates into storage organs (CVO) generally affected considerably the simulated yield (also underlying tight correlation with this output), whereas the parameters
involved with respiration rate (Q10) or specific leaf area (SLA) became influential in case of unfavourable weather conditions. Major differences between EMS and MMS (which includes a component simulating the impact of extreme weather events) emerged in extreme cases of crop failure triggered by markedly negative minimum temperatures. With few exceptions, the two SA methods revealed the same parameter ranking. We argue that the SA performed in this study can be useful in the design of crop modelling studies and in the implementation of crop yield forecasting systems in Europe.

Keywords: Climate scenarios, crop parameters, crop yield, e-FAST method, extreme weather events, Morris’ method, Sensitivity analysis, WOFOST
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.11.003

A software component for the impact of abiotic damages on crop productions
CropML is a framework-independent component implementing a variety of approaches for crop growth
A software library implementing different approaches for soil hydrology simulation