Using Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing to model site suitability for aquaculture in relation to changing climate

Neil Handisyde: Ph.D.

As aquaculture continues to expand the question of where a given type of production can be successful becomes increasingly relevant. The use of spatial databases in association with a Geographic Information System (GIS) has the potential for combining varied sources of data in to models that indicate site suitability for aquaculture. A key factor that influences site suitability is climate due to species requirements for specific temperature regimes and a dependence on water. As the climate warms there will be shifts in the ideal ranges for a given type of aquaculture.

The current project builds on previous climate related work within the Sustainable Aquaculture group (see report from an earlier DFID project), and consists of a number of components:

The use of remotely sensed data can provide valuable spatial and temporal information. This animation (at right) shows the flood cycle over an 8 year period, based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) operated from the Terra and Aqua satellites.

Examples of the outcomes from this work:

The images below show mean modelled pond temperature for the month of June under late 20th century conditions (top image) and under 2°C global warming (bottom image) using data from an ensemble of 13 general circulation models (GCMs).

The following images show an example of model output for the month of June. The images indicate suitability for warm water pond fish culture based on a multi criteria evaluation (MCE) of the land suitability sub-model, pond temperature and the risk of climate extremes sub-model. Probability of rain fed ponds containing water is represented separately. The top image represents late 20th century conditions while the lower image represents conditions in a 2°C warmer world.