RCN: Forecasts Of Resource and Environmental Changes: data Assimilation Science and Technology (FORECAST). NSF, 2009-2017. (Principal Investigator)

There is an urgent need to develop the capability to forecast changes in our living environment and natural resources. we are living in a period marked by rapid climate change, profound alteration of biogeochemical cycles, excessive depletion of the natural resources, extensive proliferation of exotic species, changes in frequency and spread of disease, and severe deterioration of air and water quality. Human populations are increasing at an alarming rate and society is becoming more dependent on extraction and utilization of natural resources to support regional and global economies. Continuous and accelerated supply rates of food, fiber, freshwater, and clean air are necessary to maintain healthy human societies. To effectively mitigate climate change impacts, manage natural resources, and curb environmental deterioration, we need to develop robust methods for forecast resilience and, potentially, the collapse of ecosystem services. This project promotes networking activities that will develop, apply, and promote ecological forecasting using techniques that assimilate information from process-based models, prior knowledge, data and other sources (in short, data assimilation). The FORECAST network will organize a series of conferences and a few working groups to achieve those objectives. Overall, FORECAST has the potential to develop a multi-disciplinary community of scientists with expertise in data assimilation and ecological forecasting. Ecological forecasting is critical for resource management and climate change mitigation. The ability to forecast changes in natural resources and ecological properties, such as ecosystem production, biodiversity, and ifectious diseases, will directly benefit the society. In addition, the FORECAST network will (i) involve many students, post-docs, and early-career scientists to enhance the development and propagation of new methodologies, (ii) develop web-based mechanisms for scientists to share techniques and ideas, (iii) stimulate interactions among ecologists, computer scientists, statisticians, and mathematicians, and (iv) provide broad multidisciplinary training for minority students and post-docs on data assimilation and ecological forecasting. Forecasts Of Resource and Environmental Changes: data Assimilation Science and Technology (FORECAST) – The network will organize working groups to develop benchmarks for ecological forecasting with data assimilation in areas of global change impacts on ecosystem service, biodiversity, and dynamics of infectious disease. FORECAST will also organize five conferences on topics of (1) data assimilation towards ecological forecasting; (2) data processing, mining, and assimilation; (3) uncertainty analysis and information content of data, models, and forecasts; (4) education, curriculum development, and organization of summer training schools; and (5) interface and workflow of data assimilation and ecological forecasting with data collection from sensor networks and data archival/retrieval in cyberinfrastructure. The FORECAST network is to promote ecological forecasting and data assimilation. The latter is a key approach to improve accuracy of ecological forecasting.