Models are simplified versions of things in the real world. Models help us visualize things we can’t directly observe or easily understand. While models are based on observations and measurements, they always involve assumptions and estimates.
What You Can Do With Models
We can use models to show, explain, recreate, and predict. When we use multiple models to approach a problem, we get a more complete understanding.
From life-size robotic dinosaurs to an inventor’s patent drawings, models help us see how things work.
A system is a set of related elements that come together to form a functioning whole. Models help map the relationships that make up systems.
A simulation is a model that looks at how a system changes over time, often under varying conditions.
Natural events often follow patterns. Predictive models use what we know about the past to forecast the future.
Modeling Water in the West
Water is Earth’s most important resource—nothing can live without it. In the arid American West, our tense relationship with water creates friction. As demand for water increases, modeling plays a central role in balancing the needs of our growing population while sustaining a healthy ecosystem.
Choose a city type, then step inside a model of its watershed. Can you brave climate challenges and manage the city’s water supply, all while keeping your citizens happy?
From large-scale physical models to complex computer simulations, modeling helps us understand water’s dynamic nature.
Water in the west is a limited resource. Learn who wants water, what they want to do with it, and who decides who gets it.
How much water will we have in the future? Are we in danger of running out? Learn how water scientists use modeling tools to answer these and related questions.