Robust Pictures of the Future
Assuring sustainable development paths in landscapes under climate change
Keeping landscapes multifunctional is crucial for human well-being. In face of climate change, this is challenging and requires adaptation in all sectors of landscape management. Prerequisites of informed decision-making are robust predictions of the functional effects of considered development paths. This requires advancements in modeling, observation, and data science. This is the goal of the Integration Platform “Robust Pictures of the Future” (IP RobustPics).
There is a multitude of landscape functions of particular importance for human well-being: primary production, storage of water and carbon, cycling of nutrients, attenuation of pollutants, pollination and biocontrol, or the provision of habitat for preserving biodiversity. All of them are sensitive to the anticipated climate change, esp. the increasing extremes like heat waves, droughts, or heavy rainfalls, but also to the implemented landscape management, esp. in sectors like agriculture, forestry, or water resource management. Thus, strategies are needed for a short- or/and long-term adaptation of management practices. This demonstrates the importance of seasonal to decadal predictions at large spatial extents (national and larger).
The required large-scale predictions come along with challenges: (i) mechanistic soundness; (ii) adequate consideration of heterogeneity in environmental conditions at a resolution which matches the operational needs of the targeted decision-makers; (iii) complex interplay of hydrological, ecological, and socio-economic processes which are traditionally modeled in isolation; (iv) incorporation of scenarios of climate change and altered landscape management. This requires a new generation of terrestrial environmental models which are more integrated and allow large-scale simulations at an operationally relevant resolution. Parameterizing and validating these models is another challenge. It can be overcome by linking these models to novel geo-referenced data from earth observation (esp. remote sensing) and applying data science. The development of appropriate concepts, methods, tools, and workflows is the core of the IP-research. They are applied in close collaboration with other, more content-oriented IPs to provide the desired “pictures of the future” for various use cases.
The Integration Platform RobustPics follows a mission and product oriented approach. As the entire Topic 5 (‘Future Landscapes’) of the overall Helmholtz Program, IP RobustPics aims to contribute to the provision of sustainable solutions for assuring multifunctionality in landscapes under climate change.
All activities of IP RobustPics (research and exchange) are dedicated to the fulfilment of its mission: the provision of data products required for the evaluation of development paths in landscapes which emerge from climate change and measures of climate adaptation in sectors of landscape management through the lens of multiple landscape functions (‘robust pictures of the future’). They are seen as main ‘IP-level Product’ requested. Its provision requires a number of methodological advancements in modeling, observation and data science in form of appropriate concepts, tools, and workflows. The delivery of these ‘PP-level Products’ is the main purpose of the various Platform Projects (PPs) of IP RobustPics.
The IP RobustPics is closely linked to a variety of vibrant national and international scientific networks with expertise in relevant fields of research, and its Members are involved in various responsible roles. According to its policy, IP RobustPics intends to make use of these networks by assuring rapid transfer of knowledge between the IP and these networks, but also specific measures of capacity building.