Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

New Tools for Linking Human and Earth System Models: The Toolbox for Human-Earth System Interaction & Scaling (THESIS)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 15:25
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Integrated analysis of questions regarding land, water, and energy resources often requires integration of models of different types. One type of integration is between human and earth system models, since both societal and physical processes influence these resources. For example, human processes such as changes in population, economic conditions, and policies govern the demand for land, water and energy, while the interactions of these resources with physical systems determine their availability and environmental consequences. We have begun to develop and use a toolkit for linking human and earth system models called the Toolbox for Human-Earth System Integration and Scaling (THESIS). THESIS consists of models and software tools to translate, scale, and synthesize information from and between human system models and earth system models (ESMs), with initial application to linking the NCAR integrated assessment model, iPETS, with the NCAR earth system model, CESM. Initial development is focused on urban areas and agriculture, sectors that are both explicitly represented in both CESM and iPETS. Tools are being made available to the community as they are completed (see We discuss four general types of functions that THESIS tools serve (Spatial Distribution, Spatial Properties, Consistency, and Outcome Evaluation). Tools are designed to be modular and can be combined in order to carry out more complex analyses. We illustrate their application to both the exposure of population to climate extremes and to the evaluation of climate impacts on the agriculture sector. For example, projecting exposure to climate extremes involves use of THESIS tools for spatial population, spatial urban land cover, the characteristics of both, and a tool to bring urban climate information together with spatial population information. Development of THESIS tools is continuing and open to the research community.

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