Dr. Walter E. Baethgen

Senior Research Scientist, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia Climate School

Director, Regional and Sectoral Research Program, International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI)

Vice-president of the National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA) of Uruguay

124 Monell
P.O. Box 1000
61 Route 9W
Palisades, NY 10964


Walter E. Baethgen is Senior Research Scientist, Director of the Regional and Sectoral Research program in the IRI, and served as Acting Director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center, both at The Earth Institute, Columbia University. He has established regional programs that aim to improve climate risk assessment and risk management in agriculture, health, water resources, and natural ecosystems. In 2020 he became the Vice-president of the Board of Directors of INIA (Uruguayan National Agricultural Research Institute).

He acted as Distinguished Lead Scholar of the NEXUS Program (Fulbright Foundation) between 2011 and 2013. Before joining the IRI, Baethgen was a Senior Scientist in the Research and Development Division of IFDC (International Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development Center) where he worked mainly in Information and Decision Support Systems for the Agricultural Sector (1987-2003).

Baethgen acted as a consultant for the World Bank, IADB, United Nations (UNDP, UNIDO, FAO, IAEA), and the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation. He has also acted as a consultant to governments and the private sector in several countries throughout Latin America. He was an author in IPCC’s Second, Third and Fourth Assessment Reports and he was a member of the IPCC team that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

He serves or has served as a member of scientific advisory committees of several international organizations including the CGIAR, IAI, IGBP and WMO. He was also reviewer of several international research programs (NOAA, NASA, NSF, IAI, and German, Norwegian and Austrian governments).

Baethgen obtained his PhD and M.Sc. degrees in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Uruguay. He has over 150 publications to his credit.



Only select projects listed below
Name Start Date End Date
A Stakeholder Engagement Workshop for the Agriculture Sector in Central America 6/1/13 7/31/13
ACToday (Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow) 11/1/17 6/30/22
Building Capacity to Manage Water Resources and Climate Risk in the Caribbean 7/15/12 6/30/15
CCAFS Flagship 4: Climate Risk Management 1/1/17 12/31/22
Contribution of IRI to the Management of Climate-Related Risks in the Agricultural Sector 7/1/14 6/30/19
Development of a Monitoring and Forecasting System of Crop and Pasture Production for Managing Climate Risks 9/30/10 9/29/13
Improving CRM in Uruguay through the Development of a National System for the Agriculture Sector 8/28/13 3/31/18
Linking climate services and soil diagnostics for climate-smart decisions for small-scale farmers and service providers in Tanzania 10/1/15 12/31/17
Managing Climate and Weather-Related Risks to Improve Agricultural Decision Making 4/30/12 4/29/14
Multi-Scale Climate Information for Agricultural Planning in Southeastern South America for Coming Decades 3/1/11 2/28/16
Predictability Assessment of Monsoon Onset Date over Laos, Based on Seasonal and Subseasonal Forecast 6/1/17 11/30/17
Type 1 Collaborative Research: Integration of Decadal Climate Predictions, Ecological Models and Human Decision-Making Models to Support Climate Resilient Agriculture in the Argentine Pampas 5/1/11 4/30/14
Understanding Near Term Climate Change in Argentina 8/1/13 12/31/13
AgroClimas Phase II
Tailored Agro-Climate Services and food security information for better decision making in Latin America (AGROCLIMAS)
Strengthening INIA's Research Network on Sustainable Water Management in Agriculture and Forestry 8/1/21 7/31/24
Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA Project) 2/4/21 12/31/21
Climate Adaptation Support Activity (CASA) 10/14/22 5/31/27


Only select publications listed below
Name Published Date
Toward a holistic and data-driven framework to evaluate livestock-derived protein systems 2024
A governance framework to manage the food-environment-livelihood trilemma of alternative proteins 2023
Climate variability and simultaneous breadbasket yield shocks as observed in long-term yield records 2023
Ecosystem dynamics of crop‐pasture rotations in a fifty‐year field experiment in Southern South America: Century model and field results. 2021
Season-specific management strategies for rainfed soybean in the South American Pampas based on a seasonal precipitation forecast 2021
On the use and misuse of climate change projections in international development 2019
Building a framework for process-oriented evaluation of Regional Climate Outlook Forums 2018
Trans-Pacific ENSO teleconnections pose a correlated risk to agriculture 2018
Climate-Agriculture-Modeling and Decision Tool (CAMDT): A software framework for climate risk management in agriculture 2017
Crop production variability in North and South America forced by life-cycles of the El Niño Southern Oscillation 2017
Heightened fire probability in Indonesia in non-drought conditions: the effect of increasing temperatures 2017
Life cycles of agriculturally relevant ENSO teleconnections in North and South America 2017
Cross–Time Scale Interactions and Rainfall Extreme Events in Southeastern South America for the Austral Summer. Part I: Potential Predictors 2015
Decadal covariability of Atlantic SSTs and western Amazon dry-season hydroclimate in observations and CMIP5 simulations 2015
The International Research Institute for Climate and Society: why, what and how 2015
Combined use of satellite estimates and rain gauge observations to generate high‐quality historical rainfall time series over Ethiopia 2014
Land cover change interacts with drought severity to change fire regimes in Western Amazonia 2014
Contributions of individual variation in temperature, solar radiation and precipitation to crop yield in the North China Plain, 1961–2003 2013
Scenario development for estimating potential climate change impacts on crop production in the North China Plain 2013
Climate Information for Improving Adaptation to Climate Variability and Change 2012
Contributions of individual variation in temperature, solar radiation and precipitation to crop yield in the North China Plain, 1961–2003 2012
Early-season warning of soybean rust regional epidemics using El Niño Southern/Oscillation information 2011
High-yield oil palm expansion spares land at the expense of forests in the Peruvian Amazon 2011
North Tropical Atlantic influence on western Amazon fire season variability 2011
Providing Seasonal-to-Interannual Climate Information for Risk Management and Decision-making 2010
Tropical Oceanic Causes of Interannual to Multidecadal Precipitation Variability in Southeast South America over the Past Century 2010
Innovations in Climate Risk Management: Protecting and Building Rural Livelihoods in a Variable and Changing Climate 2007
SIMERPA: Sistema de Información y Monitoreo para la Evaluación de Riesgos 2007
Actionable climate knowledge: from analysis to synthesis 2006