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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

General-Purpose Atmospheric Plant Soil Simulator (GAPS 3.1)

GAPS is a dynamic DOS or Windows-based simulation software package of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, with crop management explicit in the model. It can simulate a sequence of crops and climates in a single simulation run. Used to examine the influence of climate on different aspects of crop management (e.g., the effects of climate variability on the number of field-days for getting equipment into fields).

Appropriate Use For use in research and teaching the principles and practice of dynamic simulation modeling of the soil-plant-atmosphere system.
Scope All locations; agricultural sector; site-specific, although can be extrapolated using GIS to a national level.
Key Output Crop yield and yield components
Key Input Data on the site’s soils, climate, and management.
Ease of Use High skill-level and time commitment required to prepare and run GAPS
Training Required Requires extensive training in crop management and computer modeling
Training Available Self-instruction using manual
Computer Requirements Any PC that uses DOS or Windows 95 (or better). A batch version for large numbers of repetitive simulations is available.
Documentation Buttler, I.W. and S. Riha. 1989. GAPS: A General Purpose Simulation Model of the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere System, Version 3.1. User’s Manual. Dept. of Agronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Used to examine farm-level impacts of climate change on agriculture in the midwestern U.S.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Cornell University

140 Emerson Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853 USA; Tel: +1.607.255.6143; e-mail:

Cost No cost for model

Kaiser, H., S. Riha, D. Wilks, D. Rossiter, and R. Sampath. 1993. A farm-level analysis of economic and agronomic impacts of gradual climate warming. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 75:387-398.