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Reducing model complexity for explanation and prediction

Publication ,  Journal Article
Murray, AB
Published in: Geomorphology
October 15, 2007

Numerical models can be useful for explaining poorly understood phenomena or for reliable quantitative predictions. When modeling a multi-scale system, a 'top-down' approach-basing models on emergent variables and interactions, rather than explicitly on the much faster and smaller scale processes that give rise to them-facilitates both goals. Parameterizations representing emergent interactions range from highly simplified and abstracted to more quantitatively accurate. Empirically based large-scale parameterizations lead more reliably to accurate large-scale behavior than do parameterizations of much smaller scale processes. Conversely, purposefully simplified representations of model interactions can enhance a model's utility for explanation, clarifying the key feedbacks leading to an enigmatic behavior. For such potential insights to be relevant, the interactions in the model need to correspond to those in the 'real' system in some straightforward way. Such a correspondence usually holds for models constructed for predictive purposes, although this is not a requirement. The goals motivating a modeling endeavor help determine the most appropriate modeling strategies, as well as the most appropriate criteria for judging model usefulness. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Published In

Geomorphology

DOI

ISSN

0169-555X

Publication Date

October 15, 2007

Volume

90

Issue

3-4

Start / End Page

178 / 191

Related Subject Headings

  • Geography
  • 4104 Environmental management
  • 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience
  • 3705 Geology
  • 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
  • 0403 Geology
 

Citation

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Murray, A. B. (2007). Reducing model complexity for explanation and prediction. Geomorphology, 90(3–4), 178–191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.10.020
Murray, A. B. “Reducing model complexity for explanation and prediction.” Geomorphology 90, no. 3–4 (October 15, 2007): 178–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.10.020.
Murray AB. Reducing model complexity for explanation and prediction. Geomorphology. 2007 Oct 15;90(3–4):178–91.
Murray, A. B. “Reducing model complexity for explanation and prediction.” Geomorphology, vol. 90, no. 3–4, Oct. 2007, pp. 178–91. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2006.10.020.
Murray AB. Reducing model complexity for explanation and prediction. Geomorphology. 2007 Oct 15;90(3–4):178–191.
Journal cover image

Published In

Geomorphology

DOI

ISSN

0169-555X

Publication Date

October 15, 2007

Volume

90

Issue

3-4

Start / End Page

178 / 191

Related Subject Headings

  • Geography
  • 4104 Environmental management
  • 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience
  • 3705 Geology
  • 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
  • 0403 Geology