Cressie, Noel; Burden, Sandy; Shumack, Clint; Zammit-Mangion, Andrew; and Zhang, Bohai, Environmental informatics, National Institute for Applied Statistics Research Australia, University of Wollongong, Working Paper 09-16, 2016, 12.
Environmental Informatics uses a panoply of tools from the Statistics, Mathematics, Computing, and Visualisation disciplines. It uses these tools to reveal, quantify, and validate scientific hypotheses in the environmental sciences, with the quantification of uncertainty central to its approach. There is now a strong recognition that scientific models need to incorporate stochastic components throughout: While it has always been recognised that data have a component of measurement error, attention is now being given to the quantification of model error, and it is becoming accepted by environmental scientists that probability models for the latter allows for a coherent way to make scientific inference. In Environmental Informatics, uncertainty may be assigned not only to datasets of measurements, but also to computer-generated climate-model output. Methodological advances, in the form of hierarchical statistical models and the accompanying computational developments, have expanded the scope of statistical analyses into very large spatial domains. This has led to studies of the dynamical evolution of entire spatial fields of geophysical variables, where results are given in terms of predictive distributions. Environmental Informatics is not only involved in characterising the environment, it can also be used to make decisions about mitigation and adaptation strategies. The steps taken by environmental scientists, from data to information, from information to knowledge, and from knowledge to decisions, are all taken in the presence of uncertainty. Environmental Informatics encompasses all these aspects.