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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

The chaos in calibrating crop models: Lessons learned from a multi-model calibration exercise

Wallach, Daniel; Palosuo, Taru; Thorburn, Peter; Hochman, Zvi; Gourdain, Emmanuelle; Andrianasolo, Fety; Asseng, Senthold; Basso, Bruno; Buis, Samuel; Crout, Neil; Dibari, Camilla; Dumont, Benjamin; Ferrise, Roberto; Gaiser, Thomas; Garcia, Cecile; Gayler, Sebastian; Ghahramani, Afshin; Hiremath, Santosh; Hoek, Steven; Horan, Heidi;
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Calibration, the estimation of model parameters based on fitting the model to experimental data, is among the first steps in many applications of process-based models and has an important impact on simulated values. We propose a novel method of developing guidelines for calibration of process-based models, based on development of recommendations for calibration of the phenology component of crop models. The approach was based on a multi-model study, where all teams were provided with the same data and asked to return simulations for the same conditions. All teams were asked to document in detail their calibration approach, including choices with respect to criteria for best parameters, choice of parameters to estimate and software. Based on an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the various choices, we propose calibration recommendations that cover a comprehensive list of decisions and that are based on actual practices.


Calibration recommendations; Process-based models; Parameter estimation; Phenology

Published in

Environmental Modelling and Software
2021, volume: 145, article number: 105206

Authors' information

Wallach, Daniel
Palosuo, Taru
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Thorburn, Peter
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Hochman, Zvi
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Gourdain, Emmanuelle
ARVALIS Institut du Végétal
Andrianasolo, Fety
ARVALIS Institut du Végétal
Asseng, Senthold
Technical University of Munich
Basso, Bruno
Michigan State University
Buis, Samuel
Crout, Neil
University of Nottingham
Dibari, Camilla
University of Florence
Dumont, Benjamin
University of Liege
Ferrise, Roberto
University of Florence
Gaiser, Thomas
University of Bonn
Garcia, Cecile
ARVALIS Institut du Végétal
Gayler, Sebastian
University of Hohenheim
Ghahramani, Afshin
University of Southern Queensland
Hiremath, Santosh
Hoek, Steven
Wageningen University and Research
Horan, Heidi
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
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UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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