How to develop models for natural/environmental systems

One of the best ways to develop appropriate models, computer programs, or simulations that can predict the behavior of similar, simple, or complex real-life natural or environmental systems, is by studying several existing real-life natural or environmental systems.

An extensive study of past or existing real-life conditions and scenarios can provide relevant information that could be used in making a computer program or model.

What is a model?

A model can be defined as a product that represents a hypothetical description of processes, circumstances, or situations.

With useful data/information and important technology, models can be produced and used to understand how various types of natural or environmental systems could behave or work.

Information (data) and technology are absolutely necessary for creating models

Usually, a combination of available (raw) data and technology is useful in producing mathematical models or simulations from dependent or independent variables; the final product helps to understand, learn, or predict how other difficult, accessible or inaccessible natural/environmental systems work.

Some of the most applicable and powerful technologies consist of mathematical models that are operated on high-speed computers.

Important steps in developing a model

Anyone who desires to produce an effective or highly applicable model has to repeat some particular steps, probably many times over:

  • First, the major components of any natural or environmental system have to be identified and expressed in the form of mathematical equations—which actually summarize major information. (It has to be noted that, in most cases, natural and environmental systems have a couple of components associated with them.)
  • Second, high-speed computers have to be used to describe the probable behavior of a system, which is based on circumstances and equations fed into a model. Typically, circumstances and equations are based on past or existing studies.
  • Third, a comparison has to be made between a system’s projected or predicted behavior (which is hypothetical and drawn from studies of existing case scenarios), and actual case scenarios or behaviors.

The 3 steps briefly highlighted above, have to be repeated until a trend/pattern is observed. By observing and studying trends, relevant information and equations can be generated and used to produce models that would mimic past and current behaviors of natural/environmental systems.

Successful models can be used to make useful predictions

After developing a successful mathematical model for any natural or environmental system, it can be used to predict what would likely happen under different types of conditions or circumstances.

In fact, models can actually provide precise, or useful answers; like what could/would likely happen tomorrow or in the near (distant) future. Models give a number of projections or predictions of likely occurrences, which are based on different suppositions or assumptions.

How can a model be applied?—An example

Based on the 3 steps briefly stated, a model can be produced and used to describe, for example, a river, and predict what would likely happen to its water quality and other variables if the river is continuously being polluted with varying quantities of solid waste.

Other areas where models can be applied include, pollution of oceans, deforestation, air pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, etc.


  • It is great to read your useful blogs.
    You are welcome in London at anytime.
    Best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

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    • Thanks 👍 alot Jonathan… I’m in love with your comment: visualizing complicated interrelated systems needs a computer model based on observable subsystems… it seems you’ve been in the field of research and development of models…

      Liked by 2 people

      • I do have a science background, academically. And I do listen when the weather forecasters talk about various models used to better understand potential effects of changing weather patterns! In my comments, i do try to do an abstract…or analysis…of what each post is. Glad you liked this one! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • that’s interesting… your comments speak much about your familiarity with scientific academia…I have taught undergraduate students for 7 years and supervised not less thsn 15 final year research topics/projects; this has helped me alot personally

          Liked by 1 person

          • You have more skin in the game than I. Got my B.S. and M,S,E, in Biology, which made a poor choice in the job market for education—I also flunked my Student Teaching—but have kept my hand in, in various ways.


            • you seem not to have lost touch

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              • I’m not as scientifically active as I was, keeping up with information, but grew less so when science became more specifically a belief system used by political and social/economic revisionists…but then, the theory of evolution quickly became the darling of Marx, Margret (SP>-?) Sanger (abortion and elimination of certain members of the species…like the mentally ill and certain ethnic groups—as Hitler did) and the environmental people who opening seek socialism and society revolutionized to put power in their hands, not ours! Perhaps I naively assume I can say these things…without igniting a firestorm! The evidence of these things is all there—although not in my personal possession! 🙂 I’d better stop—in enough trouble already!

                Liked by 2 people

  • some great points there as regards to politicians using science as a belief system… many politicians still use it today (either in outright cruel forms, or subtle but still selfish forms) to eliminate others
    …even if a storm is ignited, those who are offended will react in oblivion where we won’t be able to see them even a bit

    Liked by 1 person

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