International Advanced School in Agricultural Meteorology


Report on the second edition of the International Advanced School in Agricultural Meteorology

Marina Baldi(1) (2), Marco Simonetti (1), Francesca Ventura(3)

(1) CNR-IBE, (2) WMO-RTC Italia, (3) Presidente AIAM.

The second edition of the International Advanced School in Agricultural Meteorology was held at the DISTAL of the University of Bologna, on 5-9 September 2022, and was entitled "Agricultural Meteorology for a Sustainable Water Management In Agroecosystems"

The course was designed with the aim to facilitate participants to increase their knowledge of novel scientific results, and advanced technologies for the agrometeorological analysis and monitoring applied to agricultural water management under present and future climates. The school included theoretical activity and practical/demonstration sessions to allow the direct application of theory, through the use of advanced tools. List of the main topics covered by the school:

  • Relations between hydrological cycle, agriculture, and climate change
  • Water harvesting, research, and implementation
  • Modelling of crop yield response to water under conditions in which water is a key limiting factor in                           crop production – the AquaCrop system
  • Satellite products and tools for sustainable water management
  • Field visit to Acqua Campus (CER) and Decision support systems

The number of applications received was very high for this course: 119, from 54 Countries. The Applicants were all well motivated to take the course and the selection that was carried out by the members of the scientific committee was very complex. The Committee evaluated, for each candidate, the application, the motivation, and profile, and selected twenty-eight people coming from 14 Countries, which enrolled in the course. At the end, 26 attended the classes: 8 from Italy, 4 from Africa, 5 from Asia, 5 from EU and 4 from other countries. The remaining two people were unable to obtain the Visa in time.

The school opening session included welcome address from the President of AIAM, Francesca Ventura, the Director of the hosting Department, Prof Rosalba Lanciotti, the Director of WMO-RTC in Italy, Marina Baldi. The school was then declared officially opened by the B. Gen. Luca Baione, Permanent Representative of Italy with WMO.

Twenty  trainers were involved in the 5 days of the school, all world-class experts from University of Florence (DAGRI), University of Milan, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Sicily Region, National Research Council of Italy, and International Agencies: Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations - FAO, CGIAR / Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CGIAR/IWMI, and all together presented the issues with a broad spectrum of perspectives.

As a final task to complete the course, the participants were asked to respond to the evaluation questionnaire on the Moodle platform. The general participants’ perception of the course is positive with 80% evaluating the initiative very successful or excellent, and for about 65% of the participants had the right duration (1 week), and 22% a little short. In terms of meeting the objectives, about 39% of the participants evaluated the course to fully meet them, and 35% very well, while 17% evaluated the course to nearly meet the objectives.

Participants are aware the course offered the opportunity to know tools and methods to be applied in their daily job, and they express the intention to contact the trainers in the future when more questions will arise on the use of the tools. The topics that aroused most interest were:

  • Modelling of crop yield response to water – The AquaCrop system,
  • Relations between hydrological cycle, agriculture, and climate change
  • Copernicus and ESA, contribution to hydrology and water management

As a final remark, there was a very good interaction between participants, trainers and organizers, and a great quantity of exchange of experiences and personal culture. This aspect, impossible when the course are held remotely, gave a great added value to the course, adding everyone's contributions to the subjects taught by the teachers.