W8: TIAS workshop - Complexity and uncertainty and a new role for models

Organised by: Claudia Pahl-Wostl and Marcela Brugnach

If there is one characteristic of today's environmental problems is its complexity. We are now faced with the challenge of solving problems where time delays, feedback loops, non-linearities and system interconnectedness make prediction particularly difficult. In this realm small events can have big effects, causes are multiple and separated in time, problems transcend interdisciplinary arenas. Additionally, we, with our beliefs and perceptions about nature, are part of the problem to be solved influencing the way in which we identify and conceptualize reality, and drive inference from it. These characteristics make environmental problems intrinsically uncertain, difficult to predict and to manage.

When dealing with these types of problems, computer models play a central role. They constitute general and flexible tools that can help dealing with complex and uncertain phenomena. In this session we investigate what complexity and uncertainty mean for models and the way we approach modeling. We aim at revising the assumptions upon which models are being built and used, claiming that the modeling activity needs to shift its goals of predictions to a new role of communication, exploration and understanding. Particularly our focus is on models and methods that allow a pluralistic representation of reality, embracing different types of uncertainties and ambiguities, and that advance the modeling activity by combining with other methods of knowledge integration.

The workshop is organized as part of TIAS (The Integrated Assessment Society).

Click here to go to the associated Session 1.

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Position Paper

  
Pedro Anastasio, Marcela Brugnach (organizer), Francis Chiew, Tatiana Filatova, Brian Gray, Georg Holtz, Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt, Jočo Carlos Marques, Claudia Pahl-Wostl (organizer), Miguel Pardal, Jens-Christian Refsgaard, Julian Reichl, Peter van der Keur, Anne van der Veen, Tiago Verdelhos Complexity and uncertainty and a new role for models

Participants

  
Pedro Anastacio, Tiago Verdelhos, Jojo Carlos Marques, Miguel Pardal A validated population dynamics model for Scrobicularia plana (Molusca, Bivalvia) in the Mondego Estuary (Portugal)
Tatiana Filatova, Anne van der Veen Questions and methods to model emergence of land use patterns in coastal zone area
Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt Issues of uncertainty, complexity, scale and transferability in river water quality modelling with a focus on the Saale River, Germany
Peter van der Keur, Marcela Brugnach, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Jens-Christian Refsgaard Identification of major sources of uncertainty in IWRM and current approaches for including them in IWRM
Georg Holtz, Claudia Pahl-Wostl The role of models in transition research
Julian Reichl Exploring regionalisation of hydrological behaviour within a model averaging framework