Using Dynamic Time Warping and Data Forensics to Examine Tradeoffs among Land-Energy-Water Networks Across the Conterminous United States

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 08:00
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Characterizing interdependencies among land-energy-water sectors, their vulnerabilities, and tipping points, is challenging, especially if all sectors are simultaneously considered. Because such holistic system behavior is uncertain, largely unmodeled, and in need of testable hypotheses of system drivers, these dynamics are conducive to exploratory analytics of spatiotemporal patterns, powered by tools, such as Dynamic Time Warping (DTW). Here, we conduct a retrospective analysis (1950 - 2010) of temporal trends in land use, energy use, and water use within US counties to identify commonalities in resource consumption and adaptation strategies to resource limitations. We combine existing and derived data from statistical downscaling to synthesize a temporally comprehensive land-energy-water dataset at the US county level and apply DTW and subsequent hierarchical clustering to examine similar temporal trends in resource typologies for land, energy, and water sectors. As expected, we observed tradeoffs among water uses (e.g., public supply vs irrigation) and land uses (e.g., urban vs ag). Strong associations between clusters amongst sectors reveal tight system interdependencies, whereas weak associations suggest unique behaviors and potential for human adaptations towards disruptive technologies and less resource-dependent population growth. Our framework is useful for exploring complex human-environmental system dynamics and generating hypotheses to guide subsequent energy-water-nexus research.

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