An integrated systems modelling approach in environmental modelling, simulation and analysis

One of the challenges in environmental systems resource management is a lack of continuum-integrated advanced mathematical modelling solutions and decision-support tools to evaluate interaction across environmental systems. Specifically, tools are needed to evaluate interaction between complex natural and engineered systems that are utilised in support of social and economic development in an environmentally sustainable way. The interface between land and ocean – the coastal system – is such an example and a transdisciplinary approach is needed to address issues that affect this system. Therefore, experts in this field of modelling come from a diverse set of disciplines, including applied mathematics, physics, data sciences and statistics, machine learning, process engineering and mechanical engineering, ecological sciences (including marine biology), remote sensing and computational oceanography.

The CSIR modelling team is uniquely positioned to provide innovative solutions for complex integrated systems as the group has expertise in trans-disciplinary mathematical and computational sciences applied to natural and engineered systems. The researchers have the necessary expertise to incorporate relevant inter-connectivity across ocean-atmosphere-terrestrial system boundaries (including freshwater systems).

System dynamics modelling is being added to the modelling teams’ capabilities. Work in this field is aimed at the development of a decision-support tool to support non-technical decision-makers in data-poor environments to reach realistic solutions in these complex socio-ecological systems, without having to rely on detailed data and information. Through an integrated systems approach, it aims to provide decision-makers with the means to understand the socio-economic impacts of decisions taken.