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Agroclimate and information system Unit (GRAS)
In 1998, at INIA La Estanzuela, a few researchers joint together to analyze, propose and implement studies on Climate and Climate Change.
Simultaneously, that “group” of researchers acquired capacities on emerging methodologies and tools , such as remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), GPS, geostatistical techniques, and the use of physical and biological models, all to support the development of activities and projects.
In 2003, the Board of Directors of INIA formally creates the “Agroclimate and Information Systems Unit” (GRAS), in which the Resolution number 1846 express: “THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RESOLVES:- To create the Agroclimate and Information systems Unit, with competence in the study and treatment of Climate and Climate Change, including the development and application of Information and Support Systems for Decision Making…”
Finally, in 2006, the Unit was included in the INIA organizational structure, granting a National character.
The GRAS team develops projects and activities to assess and establish the impact of climate change and variability on agricultural and forestry production systems, and the identification of possible adaptation measures.
Another important line of action is the development of Information and Support Systems for Decision Making (SISTD) with emphasis in prevention and management of risks associated with climate issues in the agricultural production.
One of the most important strategies of the GRAS Unit in every activity or research projects, is to implement agreements and alliances with other specialized organizations at both, national and international level.
Association and coordination with the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP), the National Weather Service (INUMET), the National University, Climate change Unit of the Ministry of Housing, Land use and Environment (MVOTMA), and other national institutions, are very important to implement activities and projects in the most efficient and effective way.
Working agreements with INIA Spain, have strengthened our capacities in remote sensing techniques. The Goddard Institute for Space Studies of NASA and the International Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) provide advice and training for the use of new satellite remote sensing instruments, and information on atmospheric circulation models outputs and global and regional weather forecasts.
Studies of variability and climate change at regional and national levels and the identification of more adapted production systems have been carried out in collaboration with INTA of Argentina, EMBRAPA of Brazil, the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit (APSRU-Australia) and IRI.
Also, international funding sources such as IAI, AIACC-TWAS, START, FAO, FONTAGRO, BID and UNDP, have supported and continue to support different projects and activities.