Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in Northwestern Sri Lanka

A sustained program of research under AgMIP (Agricultural Model Inter-comparison and Improvement Project)  has led to the implementation for climate, crop, and economic models for rice agricultural systems in Sri Lanka.

Research under this program included generating future climate projections, using them to drive crop models that feed into integrated climate–crop–economic models that in turn quantify climate impacts on livelihoods and poverty.

A summary of the research was published recently and NASA TRS has made a scan of this chapter available on its website.

See the Chapter


L. Zubair, S.P. Nissanka, W.M.W. Weerakoon, D.I. Herath, A. Karunaratne, A.S.M.P.M.B. Agalawatte, R.M. Herath, A. E. N. Wijekoon, B.V.R. Punyawardhene, S. Z. Yahiya, P.Delpitiya, S.S.K. Chandrasekara, J.Gunaratna, J. Vishwanathan, P. Wickramagamage, K.D.N.Weerasinghe, C.M. Navaratne, T.M.R.S. Perera, A.A.I. Gunesekara, P. Gajanayake, and D. Wallach, Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in Northwestern Sri Lanka. In the Volume:  The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): Integrated regional assessment projects. In Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications. D. Hillel and C. Rosenzweig, Eds., ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 2. Imperial College Press, 263-280.

doi: 10.1142/9781783265640_0022

Posted in Web Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories

Simple way to cook rice

There is room for improvement

Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations’ cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. In the Caribbean, where the starch is often mixed with beans, it’s a staple too. Even here in the United States, where people eat a comparatively modest amount of rice, plenty is still consumed.

Rice is popular because it’s malleableit pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food—and it’s relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn’t that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

But what if there were a simple way to tweak rice ever so slightly to make it much healthier?

An undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka and his mentor have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice.

[Scientists have figured out what makes Indian food so delicious]

“What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook,” said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. “After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That’s it.”

Continue reading

Posted in Rice | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Subscription for Maldives Climate Reports

Click here to subscribe for free Maldives Repors

Posted in Uncategorized, Web Reports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in Northwestern Sri Lanka-Poster Presentation

Lareef Zubair1, Sarath Nissanka2, W.M.W. Weerakoon3, Dumindu Herath1, Asha Karunaratne4, Prabodha Malinga Bandara Agalawatte1, R.M. Herath5, Erandika Wijekoon1, Zeenas Yahiya1, Sewwandhi Chandrasekara1 and Janan Viswanathan1, (1)Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology, Rajawella, Sri Lanka
(2)University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
(3)Department of Agriculture, Maha Illuppallama, Sri Lanka
(4)Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka
(5)Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Work under Agricultural Model Inter-Comparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP) has led to the development of state-of-the-art climate, crop, and economic models for irrigated rice agricultural systems in Sri Lanka. The climate projections based on CMIP5 show a clear increase in temperature in the mid-twentieth century for a high greenhouse gas concentration pathway. The rainfall shows a slight increase for a preponderance of the 20 GCMs in the CMIP5 archive, with the highest increase for the early phase of the Maha season (October-March). During the Yala season (April to September),  more than half of the models showed a decline, including 4 of 5 GCM that were selected for detailed analysis.The DSSAT crop model simulations with climate change scenarios showed relative yields that were lower (by -6 to -15% for the Maha and by -24 to -37% for the Yala). After implementing adaptation strategies relative yields increased for both seasons (0.5 – 6% for Maha and from 67 to 78% for Yala).

Analysis of gains, losses, poverty rates were conducted (with the TOA-MD model) for two villages in the North-Western Kurunegala district- Migalewa (Maha and Yala) and Kadawaramulla (Maha).   The projected climate change brings negative economic impacts for 55-74% and 77-85% farmers during Maha and Yala seasons under the five GCMs.  However, for both sets, poverty rates for the future under a future production system showed a very slight decline-except under GCM: HadGEM2-ES – compared with the current climate under a future production system- Question 2. Adaptation measures led to slight (5-14% ) increase in per capita income in comparison.

Analysis based on scenarios with relatively small rainfall increases show a drop in yields in both seasons, being particularly deleterious in the Yala season. In the latter case, use of shorter-duration varieties, changes in the planting dates and improved cultivars led to substantial recovery of losses. Analysis of climate change impacts on water constrained rice agriculture is underway as this mode accounts for a large majority of cultivation.

Poster Number 101

Original Link-

Posted in Poster Presentations | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ERA Conference (Colombo 2014)

PI contributes to South Asia Biosafety Meeting on Climate Change

The PI was invited to present on the implications of climate change at the
South Asia Meeting on Biosafety organized by the
International Life Sciences Institute with funding from USAID.

The meeting was co-organized by the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy and the Minister Susil Premajantha
and Deputy Minister A.R.M. Cader were guests of honor. The Commercial Attache of the US Embassy in Colombo also addressed the opening sessions.

The presentation by the PI is at Original link- Click Here

Pdf version – Click Here

PowerPointversion- Click Here

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Summary of the presentation

Dr Lareef Zubair

This presentation shall provide an overview of climate and climate change assessments, and climate impacts and adaptation in South Asia.  Climate change assessments may be made based on historical records or climate indicators such as tree rings or be from projections from global climate models. The character of these projections for South Asia of late shall be described. The impacts of climate variability on agriculture shall be illustrated with examples –    inferences shall be drawn about the impact of climate change. The skillfulness of these climate models when used with contemporary crop models to assess agricultural productivity shall be described through examples. Through this presentation and interactions, my hope is to develop a sharper understanding of what is known, the information needs, the gaps in available information and the limitations within which impact assessment of agricultural productivity due to climate change is likely to be undertaken.

Posted in Meetings, South Asia Biosafety Conference | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agmip Reference


[D I1]

Abeysekera, S. W. and D.S. De. Z. Abeysiriwardena.
development in hybrid rice research in Sri Lanka. Rice
research and Development Institute,
Batalagoda, Ibbagamuwa, Sri Lanka.
Available at
Accessed April 23, 2013.

2010. Agriculture
Statistics of Sri Lanka. Department of
Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka
Available at
Accessed April 23, 2013.

Amarasinghe, U. A., L. Mutuwatta
and R. Sakthivadivel. 1999. Water scarcity variations
within a country: a case study of Sri Lanka. International Water Management Institute. Research Report 32,
Colombo, Sri Lanka. Available at: Accessed March 14,2013. [G4]


Central Bank of Sri Lanka. 2013. Economic and Social
statistics of Sri Lanka 2013. Available at
Accessed March 11, 2014.

of Census and Statistics. 2012a. Small Holding Sector. Census of
Agriculture-2002, Sri Lanka. Available at
Accessed February 26, 2014. 

of Census and Statistics 2012b. Census of Population and Housing, Sri Lanka. Available at Accessed February 26, 2014.  [P6]

of Census and Statistics 2014.  Statistical Abstract, Department of Census and Statistics, Colombo

W. R. S. S., S. Herath, S. B. Weerakoon.
2012. Changing the planting date as a climate change adaptation strategy for
rice production in Kurunegala district, Sri Lanka. Sustainability
DOI 10.1007/s11625-012-0192-2

N. and V. Smakhtin. 2010. Observed and Projected
Climatic Changes, Their Impacts and Adaptation Options for Sri Lanka: A Review.
Available at
Accessed April 23, 2013.

IPCC. 2007. Climate change 2007. IPCC Fourth
Assessment Report.  Available at
[P8] Accessed
April 23, 2013.

IPCC. 2013. Climate change 2013. IPCC Fifth
Assessment Report.  Available at
Accessed March 6, 2014.

Ministry of Agriculture Development and Agrarian
Services. 2007, National Agricultural policy for Sri Lanka. Available at
Accessed on 28th February 2014

Ministry of Environment, Sri Lanka. 2000, National
Report on Desertification/Land Degradation in Sri Lanka. Available at
Accessed on 28th February 2014.


of Environment, Sri Lanka. 2010. National Climate change adaptation strategy
for Sri Lanka. 2011-2016. Available at Accessed on 28th February
[P8] [D I9]

Rosenzweig, C. et al.,
2013b. The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and
Improvement Project (AgMIP): Protocols and pilot
studies. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 170, pp.166–182. Available
[D I10]

[D I11]

 [D I1] AQ11
Reference removed








(Antle,2011b)deleted: referring to AQ6 and AQ15


URL added


Publisher added


Fixed the URL

[D I9

Url and accessed date added

[D I10]

– reference revised and updated

[D I11]
AQ39- reference Ruane 2013 removed

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Climate by Numbers



David Friedberg says, “In parts of Kansas, farmers should simply not be growing corn.” Illustration by Andrew Zbihly.

It was nearly impossible to drive the back roads of southern Indiana this summer without being lulled into a trance by the monotonous perfection of the cornstalks. They lined every route, forming a canopy that stretched for miles, strong, straight, and taller than any Hoosier. In late August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated publicly what the growers had known for weeks: this year’s crop would almost certainly be the largest in American history.

A year ago, that kind of bounty would have seemed unimaginable. In 2012, drought struck nearly eighty per cent of the nation’s farmland, and the growing season was the hottest and driest in decades. Perhaps worse, over the past half century there has been a sharp, sustained increase in the number of what farmers call “toad stranglers”—days with more than three inches of rain. That kind of weather is death to corn and soybeans, the country’s biggest crops. Last year’s harvest was a catastrophe. “Just take a look at this,” Doug Theobald, who lives about an hour south of Indianapolis, said when I met him on his farm one morning this summer. Theobald and his family raise waxy corn, which is used for cornstarch and other thickeners. He handed me two snapshots of a cornfield. The first, taken on July 5, 2012, looked as if it had been lifted from a documentary about the Dust Bowl: withered gray stalks barely reached waist high. In the second photo, taken exactly one year later, verdant plants filled the frame. “Last year was the worst corn harvest in a century,” he said. “Barring a freak storm, our worst acre this year will bring in more corn than our best did last year. That has never happened before.”

Unpredictable weather is hardly rare, or new. For thousands of years, floods, droughts, tornadoes, heat waves, and early frosts have been agriculture’s unyielding enemies. But even the most sophisticated farmer would have trouble planning for the vagaries of today’s climate. “If I talk to a grower for five minutes, he will say what the data also show,” Jeff Hamlin told me a few days later. “These enormous changes are hard to handle.” Hamlin, who is forty, is the director of agronomic research at the Climate Corporation, which is based in San Francisco. Thin and rangy, he was dressed in khaki Dockers and a green golf shirt embroidered with a Climate Corporation logo. Two dozen men had gathered in a vast air-conditioned barn on a farm in Palmyra, about twenty miles northwest of Louisville, to hear him explain how his company plans to help them manage extreme weather. Breakfast—bacon, eggs, ham, mountains of toast, and urns of coffee—was spread on a table next to a vintage red silage chopper and a huge pile of seed. The Climate Corporation sells weather insurance, but it is an insurance company the way Google is an encyclopedia company. The mission statement, “To help all the world’s people and businesses manage and adapt to climate change,” is an explicit echo of Google’s sweeping promise to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

If you are trying to decide whether to take an umbrella to work, the National Weather Service provides the kind of information you need. But the data, often taken from readings at local airports, are nearly useless for anyone who needs to gauge constantly changing conditions in the soil and the atmosphere. Soil type and quality can vary widely within a county, and even within a single farm field. Clay absorbs moisture far more readily than rocky soil does; the difference has profound implications for the growth of crops like corn and soybeans. Without accurate temperature and soil data, it is impossible to calculate how much moisture or sun a plant needs and how much it is likely to get.

Continue reading

Posted in News, The New Yorker | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment