Cynthia Rosenzweig posing in green field of crops (© Shari Lifson)
Cynthia Rosenzweig on a field trip in India. She is credited with influencing thousands of leaders in 90 countries to act on climate issues. (© Shari Lifson)

Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist and head of the Climate Impacts Group at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is the World Food Prize Laureate for 2022. Rosenzweig also serves as a professor at Barnard College and a senior research scientist at The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Since 1986, the World Food Prize has recognized achievements of more than 50 individuals who help advance food quality and quantity around the world.

A young Cynthia Rosenzweig walking by building followed by goat (Courtesy of Cynthia Rosenzweig)
Cynthia Rosenzweig at her farm in Tuscany, Italy, in 1969 (Courtesy of Cynthia Rosenzweig)

Rosenzweig, over her four-decade career, has worked as a farmer, climatologist and agronomist — an expert on soil management.

“She has been a leader in the field of food and climate since the early 1980s, when she carried out some of the first studies on how climate change would impact food production in North America,” said Barbara Stinson, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, at the May 5 announcement ceremony. “She was one of the first to document the impacts of climate change on our food supply.”

Rosenzweig founded the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) in 2010. By using climate and food system models, AgMIP helps improve predictions of the future of agricultural and food systems influenced by the climate crisis. The program has provided evidence-based models to help transform food systems and allow nations to better tackle food insecurity.

AgMIP has helped leaders in more than 90 countries prepare for the worst effects of the climate crisis, according to the World Food Prize organization.

Rosenzweig has worked with the United Nations as a climate scientist and an advocate for action on food security. She also served as coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 and the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land in 2019.

“Climate change has already had a significant and negative impact on global agricultural production, and its impact is only going to get worse,” said Jose W. Fernandez, U.S. Department of State under secretary, at the event, citing crops withering in drought and shellfish dying in an increasingly acidic ocean. “We likely would not understand all of these problems as well as we do today without the work of Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig.”