The chaos in calibrating crop models

Daniel Wallach, Taru Palosuo, Peter J. Thorburn, Zvi Hochman, Emmanuelle Gourdain, Fety Andrianasolo, Senthold Asseng, Bruno Basso, Samuel Buis, Neil Crout, A.J.W. de Wit, Sabine J. Seidel

Research output: Working paperAcademic


Calibration, the estimation of model parameters based on fitting the model to experimental data, is among the first steps in essentially every application of crop models and process models in other fields and has an important impact on simulated values. The goal of this study is to develop a comprehensive list of the decisions involved in calibration and to identify the range of choices made in practice, as groundwork for developing guidelines for crop model calibration starting with phenology. Three groups of decisions are identified; the criterion for choosing the parameter values, the choice of parameters to estimate and numerical aspects of parameter estimation. It is found that in practice there is a large diversity of choices for every decision, even among modeling groups using the same model structure. These findings are relevant to process models in other fields.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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