Fuzzy-logic based multi-site crop model evaluation

Gianni Bellocchi


The most common way to evaluate simulation models is to quantify the agreement between observations and simulations via statistical metrics such as the root mean squared error and the linear regression coefficient of determination. It is agreed that the aggregation of metrics of different nature intro integrated indicators offers a valuable way to assess models. Expanded notions of model evaluation that have recently emerged, based on the trade-off between properties of the model and agreement between predictions and actual data under contrasting conditions, integrate sensitivity analysis measures and information criteria for model selection, as well as concepts of model robustness, and point to expert judgments to explore the importance of different metrics. As a FACCE MACSUR CropM-LiveM action, a composite indicator (MQIm: Model Quality Indicator for multi-site assessment) was elaborated, by a group of specialists, on metrics commonly used to evaluate crop models (with extension to grassland models) while also integrating aspects of model complexity and stability of performances. The indicator, based on fuzzy bounds applied to a set of weighed metrics, was first revised by a broader group of modellers and then assessed via questionnaire survey of scientists and end-users. We document a crop model evaluation in Europe and assess to what extent the MQIm reflects the main components of model quality and supports inferences about model performances.

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Authors: Gianni Bellocchi1, Marco Acutis2, Roberto Ferrise3, Mike Rivington4

Affiliations: 1Grassland Ecosystem Research Unit, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 2University of Milan, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Production, Landscape, Agroenergy, Milan, Italy, 3University of Florence, Agri-food Production and Environmental Sciences, Florence, Italy, 4The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, United Kingdom

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