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This Expert Forum will focus on the incorporation of weather risks in crop yields, taking into account the changes in sea surface temperatures, wind patterns and rainfall. The online event will be beneficial and of particular interest to microinsurance entities and consultants, but also of relevance to academics and researchers. The event aims to finally shed some light into the “black box” of index insurance models.

Askar Choudhury, Professor of Management & Quantitative Methods, Illinois State University
James Jones, Executive Director, Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services at Illinois State University
John Kostelnick, Associate Professor of Geography & Director at GEOMAP, Illinois State University
Lena Choudhury, Academic Scholar & Consultant in Climate Change
Aslihan D. Spaulding, Professor of Agribusiness, Department of Agriculture, Illinois State University
(View bios of the speakers)

Annette Houtekamer-van Dam, Microinsurance Expert, Microinsurance Network

Global food security, threatened by climate change, is one of the most important challenges of the 21st Century: How to supply sufficient food for a growing population, while sustaining the already stressed environment? Climate change has already had significant impacts on water resources, food security, hydropower and human health worldwide, and especially within the African continent. Climate models need to be integrated with other modelling approaches to predict climate vulnerability and climate parameters such as rainfall and temperature. The changes in crop production related climatic variables will possibly have major influences on regional as well as global food production. The likely impacts of climate change on crop yield can be determined either by experimental data or by crop growth simulation models. In this Expert Forum we will talk about a GIS and a remote sensing-based approach to modelling using the density of green vegetation known as Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NVDI). The approach has the potential to increase the reliability of predictions compared to other index-based insurance models, thus limiting the basis risk, which is one of the biggest challenges and sources of disappointment for farmers with agricultural insurance to date.

The impacts of climate change on crop productivity are linked to many uncertain factors, particularly climate variability, but also soil characteristics such as soil water storage and long-term soil fertility, as well as climatic variables with long-term increase of atmospheric CO2 levels. In addition there are uncertainties in crop growth modelling linked to biophysical interactions. All of these factors affect the estimation of climate change impacts on crop productivity.

If researchers take into account some of the effects of uncertainty in their predictive models, it will be possible to obtain more accurate predictions regarding climate change impacts on crop productivity. This would then, in turn, enable the design of adaptive solutions such as the adoption of more drought resilient crops, improved irrigation techniques (risk reduction), and or the transfer of remaining risks to the insurance industry.

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