Perspectives on confronting issues of scale in systems modeling


Issues of scale pervade every aspect of socio-environmental systems (SES) modeling. They can stem from the context of both the modeling process, and the purpose of the integrated model. A webinar hosted by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), The Integrated Assessment Society (TIAS) and the journal Socio-Environmental Systems Modelling (SESMO) explored how model stakeholders can address issues of scale. Four key considerations were raised: (1) being aware of our influence on the modeling pathway, and developing a shared language to overcome cross-disciplinary communication barriers; (2) that localized effects may aggregate to influence behavior at larger scales, necessitating the consideration of multiple scales; (3) that these effects are “patterns” that can be elicited to capture understanding of a system (of systems); and (4) recognition that the scales must be relevant to the involved stakeholders and decision makers. Key references in these four areas of consideration are presented to complement the discussion of confronting scale as a grand challenge in socio-environmental modeling. By considering these aspects within the integrated modeling process, we are better able to confront the issues of scale in socio-environmental modeling.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Takuya Iwanaga, Australian National University
Patrick Steinmann
Amir Sadoddin
Val Snow, AgResearch Limited, New Zealand
Volker Grimm, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Hsiao-Hsuan Wang
Socio-Environmental Systems Modelling

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