Improving our environmental predictions
Managing Canada’s water and energy resources requires that we understand the world enough to make correct predictions about the consequences of our actions (or inactions).The people in charge of these resources have to ask questions like: “Can we provide enough hydropower 30 years from now?” “How will irrigating more now impact resources next year?” and “What will happen if we inject tons of carbon into the ground?”
Resource managers use science-based computational models to help understand our natural environment and to make predictions that help inform good decisions, and mitigate the ramifications of bad ones.
Unfortunately, while our ability to build increasingly complex computer models of the natural environment has rapidly progressed, the data that informs these models is often quite sparse.
James Craig’s research group aims to develop fast, flexible, and smart computer models that are as complex as can be justified by the data. Because these science-based models are faster and more transparent, they are better able to help put bounds on our predictions and quantify just how wrong they might be, which also helps determine where additional data needs to be gathered.
These more trustworthy and sophisticated computer models will help guide Canada’s decision-makers and policy drafters in their quest to manage Canada’s water and energy resources, while protecting the environment and public health.