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Title: What are the effects of Agro-Ecological Zones and land use region boundaries on land resource projection using the Global Change Assessment Model?

Understanding potential impacts of climate change is complicated by spatially mismatched land representations between gridded datasets and models, and land use models with larger regions defined by geopolitical and/or biophysical criteria. Here in this study, we quantify the sensitivity of Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) outputs to the delineation of Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs), which are normally based on historical (1961–1990) climate. We reconstruct GCAM's land regions using projected (2071–2100) climate, and find large differences in estimated future land use that correspond with differences in agricultural commodity prices and production volumes. Importantly, historically delineated AEZs experience spatially heterogeneous climate impacts over time, and do not necessarily provide more homogenous initial land productivity than projected AEZs. Finally, we conclude that non-climatic criteria for land use region delineation are likely preferable for modeling land use change in the context of climate change, and that uncertainty associated with land delineation needs to be quantified.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Climate and Ecosystems Sciences Division
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Joint Global Change Research Institute
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Climate and Ecosystems Sciences Division; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Berkeley Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Modelling and Software
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 85; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: © 2016 Elsevier Ltd; Journal ID: ISSN 1364-8152
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; AEZ; Agro-ecological zone; Climate change; GCAM; Integrated assessment model; Land use; Scale
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1396547