Global sustainability assessment using system dynamics modeling


Climate change and excessive resource consumption have led to serious concerns regarding the future sustainability of our planet. The next few decades are expected to be critical and will decide whether we are able to address these problems and reduce our environmental footprint. Dynamic models that can assess future impacts of different strategies are needed.

In this work, we will be using system dynamics (SD) approach to address these questions. We have previously worked on an SD model that captures the essential components of the global system, including plants, animals, humans, industries, resources, and waste generation. The specific focus of this project is to explicitly include water related features in the model. The focus on water is driven by the fact that water is an essential commodity and is becoming increasingly scarce. Moreover, climate change is expected to significantly affect availability and reliability of freshwater.

The work will involve modeling the water consumption related dynamics and its connection to the remaining sectors of the model. Subsequently, different scenarios related to climate change will be simulated to predict future possibilities. Technological options such as desalination will be assessed. Finally, impact of policy alternatives such as higher water pricing will be measured.

This project is completely computational. The nature of work is very interdisciplinary, going beyond the field of chemical engineering. The programming will be using Python or MATLAB.

Prior work based using the model can be found at the following links. These papers will give you a sense of the type of work expected:

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