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Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling



Flexibility, Abstraction, and Accessibility

Whatever current knowledge is integrated through an assessment project is bound to change. Flexibility to incorporate new, changed information as it becomes available may be the single most important criterion for successful integrated assessment: Among strongly modeled assessments, models with certain characteristics have big advantages in their ability to assimilate such changes in knowledge. While changed estimates or distributions of parameter values are typically easy to incorporate in any model, changes in the fundamental understanding of some component, equivalent to changing the structure of a submodel, can be made much easier through modular design, which permits pieces to be added, deleted, or changed. Changing knowledge can also require changing the resolution or dimensions used to describe some phenomenon. In this case, there is a similar value and flexibility to a model that incorporates array abstraction. Finally, the flexibility of any assessment project is vastly enhanced if models and their components are transparent and well-documented. Similar benefits of modularity and transparency also apply in less modeled assessments.


The next section is Representing Components of the Causal Chain for Integrated Assessment.





Parson, E.A. and K. Fisher-Vanden, Searching for Integrated Assessment: A Preliminary Investigation of Methods, Models, and Projects in the Integrated Assessment of Global Climatic Change. Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). University Center, Mich. 1995.


Suggested Citation

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). 1995. Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling of Climate Change [online]. Palisades, NY: CIESIN. Available at [accessed DATE].



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