Environmental Systems Research

Environmental Systems and Modeling Research

The environmental problems affecting South Texas and the Texas-Mexico region are diverse and have a wide-ranging multi-media impact. Huge growth is expected along the Texas-Mexico region and this will put a tremendous strain on the fragile environment and ecosystem.

Currently there are diverse sets of models that address environmental issues pertaining to the South Texas region. Some of these include a regional environmental resource management model for the Lower Rio Grande river, regional and urban photochemical model applications for air quality management in the urban centers of South Texas, coastal and estuarine flows and water quality modeling along the South Texas shores, and a rangeland model with an agricultural focus to name a few.

Most of these modeling systems are housed at various research and academic institutions within Texas and currently there is very little crossover or interaction amongst these expert centers. There is synergy between the various models and modeling activities. As much as an agricultural operation impacts the surface and sub-surface water quality, it also impacts the atmosphere via controlled and/or uncontrolled burning. Similarly, population and industrial centers have a tremendous impact on air, water and the ecosystem. Thus there is a need for a holistic approach to environmental modeling for planning and impact assessment purposes within South Texas.

Environmental systems modeling can provide for a modular, distributed and a web-based approach to air, water, sub-surface quality predictive & deductive modeling, with specific applications to regional and bi-national issues affecting the semi-arid coastal region of South Texas and Texas-Mexico region. The modeling framework borrows from existing expertise within Texas and from the recent advances in global scale modeling supported by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Significant sub-projects and modeling systems are being developed to address the interactions between the urban, industrial, agricultural and natural systems.

The primary focus of this research area is to identify the myriad biogeochemical interactions from a multi-media perspective and incorporate this into the modeling framework. An expert systems approach is being utilized to design an environmental knowledge management system for the study region. The models themselves are highly modularized and adapted to multiple computation platforms. This effort will be performed in a collaborative fashion with other HSI/MIs and allied research institutions within this region.

This page was last updated on: June 11, 2014