Working Groups (WGs) are being established to facilitate collaboration and accelerate scientific progress. The descriptions below introduce three initial WGs — click on the links for more information about how to become involved. An additional opportunity to propose working groups is planned for late spring 2020 — watch this space for more information. 

Facilitating FAIR Data

Data plays a critical role in the MSD community. It is used for a variety of purposes including model formulation, forcing, and evaluation as well as empirical analyses. One component of an effective community of practice is leveraging shared tools and resources. The purpose of this working group is to facilitate the reuse of datasets across the MSD community by providing mechanisms to inventory currently available datasets, advertise new datasets, and enhance the way datasets are documented and archived. The working group will help the MSD community adapt the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data standards.

Human System Modeling

The Human System Modeling working group explores state of the art modeling methods that can improve representation of human decision making and adaptation in multi-sector systems, drawing from advances in economics, social sciences, computer science, and statistics. We investigate a range of modeling techniques (e.g., agent-based, bioeconomic, computable general equilibrium, etc.) and their integration with physical energy-water-land models for capturing human response to both natural and socioeconomic stressors under short-term shocks and long-term change.

Uncertainty Quantification and Scenario Development

The Uncertainty Quantification and Scenario Development working group studies the propagation of uncertainties, including deep uncertainties, through multi-sector systems. We are interested in understanding how uncertainty interacts with complex system dynamics and cross-sectoral feedback mechanisms to affect the robustness and resilience of these systems. We also conduct research into the construction of scenarios to capture the range of uncertainties in outcome space in the presence of deep uncertainty.

Urban Systems

Cities are a key focal point for addressing questions related to system dependencies, tipping points, and uncertainties. Cities are also a fruitful context to explore model coupling across sectors and scales. However, efforts to combine multi-sector urban tools and insights to examine key uncertainties, interactions, and tradeoffs are still nascent. The urban working group will facilitate the development of these tools and ideas. We will explore questions like: What are the risks faced by the world’s urban areas as they seek to increase resilience and balance multiple objectives such as human health, economic development, and sustainable use of resources? How does urban change influence larger-scale infrastructure, economic, and Earth system processes, and how is urban evolution constrained by these larger systems? Which processes and couplings must be represented to understand multi-sector dynamics within cities?

Multisector Impacts of Energy Transitions

Technological advancement and energy & environmental policy have driven rapid changes in the energy sector, and these developments have pervasive influence on other economic sectors and natural systems. As these developments accelerate, there is an increasing need to understand the resulting feedbacks between human and natural systems. This Working Group will advance the understanding of these multisectoral relationships by building a diverse team to identify what feedbacks, sectors, and societal constructs are missing from existing analytical approaches and define new research pathways towards a more holistic understanding of the multisector impacts of energy transitions.

Professional Development and Education for Early Career Scientists

As the MSD community is formed and begins to grow, this Working Group will seek to expand participation among a diverse group of early career scientists, provide professional development opportunities to graduate students and post-docs, and serve as a contact point for interdisciplinary education activities taking place in the MSD community. The overarching goal of this group is to support early career success in the field, which we believe will in turn support the scientific vision of MSD. Specific activities include planning workshops for early career faculty and completing an inventory of MSD-related coursework at U.S. universities.