Water Resources Research Report



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The society-biosphere-climate model described here takes an integrated assessment approach to simulating global change. It consists of eight individual sectors that reproduce the main characteristics of the climate, carbon cycle, economy, land use, population, surface water flow, and water demand and water quality sectors at a global scale, each of which is described individually in the report, both in terms of the theoretical foundation and mathematical basis, and then connected through feedbacks to other sectors in order to recreate the whole system. Several of the sectors build on previous modelling work, but their manner of integration is novel, as are the water sectors in particular.

The resulting model is implemented in a system dynamics modelling interface called Vensim DSS (Ventana Systems, 2003), which emphasizes the roles of nonlinearity and feedback in determining system behaviour. Both the diagrammatic and mathematical bases of Vensim are described in detail, as are the adjustable components of the model. Several sample experiments are conducted to illustrate the use of Vensim and the analytical tools it provides. The appendices list the model code – as mathematical equations – that forms the basis of the numerical simulations executed with the model, as well as the contents of a CD-ROM version of the model available from the authors, and previous reports in the series.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario


London, Ontario, Canada


Integrated assessment model, Society-biosphere-climate model, Model description, System dynamics, Vensim DSS, Model code


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Report no.: 059

An Integrated System Dynamics Model for Analyzing Behaviour of the Social-Economic-Climatic System: Model Description and Model Use Guide