Future of technology in NERC data models and informatics: outputs from InformaTEC
Andrew Kingdon, Jeremy R. A. Giles, Jonathan P. Lowndes, 2017. "Future of technology in NERC data models and informatics: outputs from InformaTEC", Integrated Environmental Modelling to Solve Real World Problems: Methods, Vision and Challenges, A. T. Riddick, H. Kessler, J. R. A. Giles
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The ‘Big Data’ paradigm will revolutionize understanding of the natural environment. New technologies are revolutionizing our ability to measure, model, understand and make robust, evidence-based predictions at increasingly spatial and temporal resolutions. Realising this potential will require reengineering of environmental sciences in the observation infrastructure, in data management and processing, and in the culture of environmental sciences. Collectively these will deliver vibrant, integrated research communities. Manipulating such enormous data streams requires a new data infrastructure underpinned by four technologies. Pervasive environmental sensor networks will continuously measure suites of environmental parameters and transmit these wirelessly to scientists, regulators and modellers in real time. Integrated environmental modelling will process data, streamed from sensor networks, using components synthesizing natural systems developed by domain experts, each of which will be linked at runtime to other expert developed components. Semantic interoperability will facilitate cross-disciplinary working, as has already happened within the biosciences so that data items can be exchanged with unambiguous, shared meaning. Cloud computing will revolutionize data processing allowing scalable computing close to observations on an as-needed basis. Leveraging the full potential of these technologies requires a major culture change in the environmental sciences where national and continental scale observatories of sensors networks become basic scientific tools.
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Integrated Environmental Modelling to Solve Real World Problems: Methods, Vision and Challenges
The discipline of Integrated Environmental Modelling (IEM) has developed in order to solve complex environmental problems, for example understanding the impacts of climate change on the physical environment. IEM provides methods to fuse or link models together, this in turn requires facilities to make models discoverable and also to make the outputs of modelling easily visualized.
The vision and challenges for IEM going forward are summarized by leading proponents. Several case studies describe the application of model fusion to a range of real-world problems including integrating groundwater and recharge models within the UK Environment Agency, and the development of ‘catastrophe’ models to predict better the impact of natural hazards. Communicating modelling results to end users who are often not specialist modellers is also an emerging area of research addressed within the volume. Also included are papers that highlight current developments of the technology platforms underpinning model fusion.