2001-2004, Bremen, Germany

[h]Decision Support System (DSS)[/h]
A major objective of KRIM is the creation of a Decision Support System (DSS). On the one hand, this is intended to serve as an integrative tool during project work since the latter can be structured and results compiled by means of this instrument. On the other hand, it represents a modern tool, little used in Germany, for initiating a public debate on climate impacts in the coastal region and future risk management. Due to the limited project period, experience with DSS gained in particular in the Netherlands will be used as a foundation. The designated consultant has been developing in recent years, based on findings in complex system science, such methodologies and tools, which now shall form the basis of the development of the KRIM-DSS (e.g. RamCo, WadBOS, Environment Explorer, MODULUS).

Prime focus in the development of the DSS is on the integration of knowledge, data and models from the various disciplines involved in the KRIM project. Integration is essential if we want to determine how the coastal system as a whole reacts to sea level rise, more and more intense extreme events and to possible measures to encounter these problems. Scientifically as well as technologically integration is a most challenging and innovative task, because it involves in-depth study of an adaptive complex system and the development of methodologies and computer-based tools to simulate its behaviour.

In the proposed DSS a structured approach towards consequences of an accelerated sea level rise with possible effects on coastal protection management, is combined with advanced information technology, leading to an instrument that facilitates the processing, analysis and (graphical) presentation of information and acts as a knowledge base. The DSS is a computer-based instrument that will incorporate knowledge of many different, but interrelated, disciplines (e.g.: hydrodynamics, morphology, ecology, economy, risk-management, social sciences, etc.). Especially the integral representation of knowledge about both physical and social science processes in a truly dynamic system, make a decision support system useful for both integrative scientific analysis and a participative policy-making process.

The KRIM project covers various scientific disciplines focusing on 8 defined subsystems. The DSS will facilitate integral and dynamic analysis of the results within each discipline (subproject) by mathematical formalization of relations between the different processes within the system. Also project results of each subsystem can be projected onto the total German North Sea coast with appropriate constraints.

Formulation of the relations between processes and disciplines are needed to enable development of the integral model, which is at the core of the DSS. The need for these relations stimulates interdisciplinary research and extensive interaction with the KRIM-partners. In this way we can ensure that not only the DSS as a product in itself, but also the process of the development of the DSS will contribute to a better integrative analysis and understanding of the system and to identify knowledge gaps. Hence communication with the other partners within the KRIM project is very important, as can be seen in the working plan.

Another important goal for the KRIM project is to stimulate an interactive dialog with interested citizens, policy-makers and decision-makers on the consequences of a sea level rise on the coastal protection management. The DSS will use the Internet as medium for that dialog. With an appropriate choice of the informatics framework, group specific user-interfaces for the DSS can be designed. With these specific user-interfaces the presentation of information, results and analysis capabilities of the system can be customized according to the role of the user in the decision-making process.

In general the described functions of the DSS as a tool within the KRIM project can be combined into a single DSS computer program. However, the Internet functionality might require a client-server architecture. Summarized, the development of the DSS for the KRIM project will:

  • enable an integration of results of sub-projects, models and relevant knowledge;

  • stimulate interdisciplinary research and trans-sectoral interactions; and

  • support a participative policy-making process with an innovative use of information technology and the Internet.