U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Regional Agriculture

EPIC is a comprehensive, process-based terrestrial ecosystem model that simulates plant growth and crop yield based on detailed representations of crop management systems. For PRIMA, the EPIC model was applied to the pilot region to generate crop yield estimates for multiple climate mitigation practices, including no-tillage agriculture and bioenergy crops. These results were used to parameterize these options in GCAM, which then simulated the adoption of differing practices based on their contribution to climate mitigation targets constraining GCAM-USA.

The figure shown here represents the EPIC-driven GCAM-USA results for a region of Iowa, illustrating the change in adoption of different crop technologies over time for the production of corn. The results indicate that climate mitigation policies drive an increase in crop residue removal for bioenergy feedstocks, as well as an increase in area under no-tillage practices, resulting in soil carbon sequestration.

POCAllison Thomson


Thomson AM, GP Kyle, X Zhang, V Bandaru, TO West, MA Wise, RC Izaurralde, and KV Calvin. 2014. “The contribution of future agricultural trends in the US Midwest to global climate change mitigation.” Global Environmental Change 24:143-154. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.11.019.

Nichols J, S Kang, W Post, D Wang, V Bandaru, D Manowitz, X Zhang, and R Izaurralde. 2011. “HPC-EPIC for High Resolution Simulations of Environmental and Sustainability Assessment.” Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 79(2):112-115. DOI: 10.1016/j.compag.2011.08.012.

PRIMA simulates regional agricultural processes by combining the capabilities of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) model, which provides high-resolution information about crop productivity, with the agriculture and land use (AgLU) component of the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), which simulates the supply and demand of agricultural crops on a worldwide basis.

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