The predicting power of models for eutrophication

Van Straten, G. (1992) The predicting power of models for eutrophication. In: Sutcliffe, David W. and Jones, J. Gwynfryn (eds.) Eutrophication: research and application to water supply. Ambleside, UK, Freshwater Biological Association, pp. 44-58. (FBA Special Publications,3)

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Restoration of water-bodies from eutrophication has proved to be extremely difficult. Mathematical models have been used extensively to provide guidance for management decisions. The aim of this paper is to elucidate important problems of using models for predicting environmental changes. First, the necessity for a proper uncertainty assessment of the model, upon calibration, has not been widely recognized. Predictions must not be a single time trajectory; they should be a band, expressing system uncertainty and natural variability. Availability of this information may alter the decision to be taken. Second, even with well-calibrated models, there is no guarantee they will give correct projections in situations where the model is used to predict the effects of measures designed to bring the system into an entirely different ”operating point”, as is typically the case in eutrophication abatement. The concept of educated speculation is introduced to partially overcome this difficulty. Lake Veluwe is used as a case to illustrate the point. Third, as questions become more detailed, such as ”what about expected algal composition”, there is a greater probability of running into fundamental problems that are associated with predicting the behaviour of complex non-linear systems. Some of these systems show extreme initial condition sensitivity and even, perhaps, chaotic behaviour, and are therefore fundamentally unpredictable.

Item Type: Book Section
Title: The predicting power of models for eutrophication
Personal Creator/Author:
Van Straten, G.
Title of Book: Eutrophication: research and application to water supply
Sutcliffe, David W.
Jones, J. Gwynfryn
Refereed: No
Series Name: FBA Special Publications
Volume: 3
Page Range: pp. 44-58
Date: 1992
Publisher: Freshwater Biological Association
Place of Publication: Ambleside, UK
ISBN: 978-0900386-52-7
Issuing Agency: Freshwater Biological Association
Uncontrolled Keywords: Eutrophication; Algal blooms; Phytoplankton; Freshwater lakes; Models; Growth; Modelling; Equations; Bacteria; Prediction;Netherlands; Veluwemeer Lake
Subjects: Ecology
Item ID: 5287
Depositing User: Hardy B Schwamm
Date Deposited: 09 May 2011 20:03
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 15:12

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