DIVA: an iterative method for building modular integrated models
- Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research GPO Box 601203 14412 Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. Integrated modelling of global environmental change impacts faces the challenge that knowledge from the domains of Natural and Social Science must be integrated. This is complicated by often incompatible terminology and the fact that the interactions between subsystems are usually not fully understood at the start of the project. While a modular modelling approach is necessary to address these challenges, it is not sufficient. The remaining question is how the modelled system shall be cut down into modules. While no generic answer can be given to this question, communication tools can be provided to support the process of modularisation and integration. Along those lines of thought a method for building modular integrated models was developed within the EU project DINAS-COAST and applied to construct a first model, which assesses the vulnerability of the world’s coasts to climate change and sea-level-rise. The method focuses on the development of a common language and offers domain experts an intuitive interface to code their knowledge in form of modules. However, instead of rigorously defining interfaces between the subsystems at the project’s beginning, an iterative model development process is defined and tools to facilitate communication and collaboration are provided. This flexible approach has the advantage that increased understanding about subsystem interactions, gained during the project’s lifetime, can immediately be reflected in the model.