Welcome to CAVEAT!

Beta 1.3 (Firefox optimized)

The Climate Change and Agriculture Visualization and Estimation Analysis Tool (CAVEAT) is both a concept and a decision support system based on one fundamental premise: make accessible local scale information (resulting from long term complex global climate models) about the intensity, extent, and spatial distribution of projected changes in not only climate, but agricultural production in the near, middle, and long term future, thus providing a necessary tool for mitigation planning under climate change.

At present within the greater body of knowledge related to climate change research there exists a void concerning sub-national, spatially-continuous predictions of crop yields and agricultural vulnerability. However, as international, national, and sub-national authorities recognize the increasing importance of assessing the risks of decreased agricultural productivity, efforts are being undertaken to not only understand these risks, but to broadcast their predicted impacts for responsible mitigation planning and protection of food supplies.

CAVEAT provides this information visually and quantitatively through various map renditions of the changes in major climate variables and agricultural yield production within a Google EarthTM geographic information system space.

The mapped output is customized to the users selected requirements and is ultimately the maturated product of an extensive analytical process which utilized:

  • Climate projections developed by internationally renowned institutions as adopted within the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and the proposed avenues of global development described in the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES).
  • Agricultural growth and predicted crop yield production as simulated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) AquaCrop growth model.
  • And spatially-continuous predictions made possible via simulation calibrations and a three stage geostatistical spatial-interpolation procedure.

CAVEAT is not a model itself, but rather the result of a scientifically rigorous modelling process. It is a web-based mapping application that uses atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) simulated climatic variables to estimate crop yields and display the spatially continuous impacts of climate change for mitigation planning.

New users looking for orientation are encouraged to read below and explore the Help Menu.

Running CAVEAT at a Glance

CAVEAT is run by first specifying a path of global development (or climate forcing scenario), a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (or climate simulation model), a time horizon, a variable to be mapped, and whether the model should display baseline, change, or future values. Drop-down menus accessible from the Model Input page or from an input form found at the bottom of the Model Output page offer user display customization. The options contained within the drop-down menus which are inaccessible and appear grey represent future expansion to be included in subsequent tool versions; only variables which are currently supported by CAVEAT are activated and appear orange.

CAVEAT is the product of concept, design and implementation through work by researchers at Trent University, with initial web infrastructure support via a co-op geographic information system application specialist project in conjunction with students from Sir Sandford Fleming College.

Click Below to Start The Model:

For an overview of the methodologies which have led to the mapped variables maintained within CAVEAT and their associated metadata please review the Background Information section; for specifics on the ‘how to’ navigation and usage of CAVEAT see the User Guide, both are found in the Help menu. Any additional inquisitions and methodological descriptions can be obtained by contacting the research development team at Trent University directly.

*Note, it is important to make clear that the climatic variables and yield predictions output by CAVEAT are not analogous to weather forecasts. Weather forecasts utilize an immense amount of data concerning the current status of the atmosphere and predict local climate patterns into the very short term future based on the laws of physics. In contrast, the climate output by the models used in CAVEAT, though based on many of the same physical laws and interrelated processes, are instead predicated on the assumptions of future global development maintained within the SRES-scenario "A1B", and as such, resulting predicted yields and climate can only be considered a plausible indication of future conditions.*