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GIS Based Chemical Fate Modeling: Principles and Applications by Alberto Pistocchi

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Chapter 1

Chemicals, Models, and GIS: Introduction

In this book, we discuss concepts and algorithms for the analysis of environmental data and the development of chemical fate and transport models, which can easily be applied using a number of different geographic information systems (GIS) packages having conceptually similar structure and functionality. Most of these packages are freely available as open software, while a few are upmarket, commercial software broadly used in industry, government, and academia.

This chapter introduces some fundamental concepts that are subsequently dealt with in specific chapters. After identifying certain open issues in developing and using spatially explicit models, a tiered approach is proposed for chemical fate and transport modeling, examining separately absolute quantities, temporal dynamics, and spatial patterns. Finally, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses, along with the opportunities and limitations of using simple GIS based models for different chemical modeling problems. The issue of choosing an optimal model complexity level, in light of the model scope and data availability, is a common thread that is considered throughout the book.

1.1 Chemistry, Modeling, and Geography

The title of this book recalls three distinct subjects: chemicals, environmental modeling, and geographic information systems (GIS). These may sound like they go well together but, if we examine them in more detail, we must admit there is something odd in ...

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