A Fuzzy Cognitive Model of aeolian instability across the South Texas Sandsheet

Friday, 19 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Chris Houser, Michael Peter Bishop and Clifton Patrick Barrineau, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX, United States
Characterization of aeolian systems is complicated by rapidly changing surface-process regimes, spatio-temporal scale dependencies, and subjective interpretation of imagery and spatial data. This paper describes the development and application of analytical reasoning to quantify instability of an aeolian environment using scale-dependent information coupled with conceptual knowledge of process and feedback mechanisms. Specifically, a simple Fuzzy Cognitive Model (FCM) for aeolian landscape instability was developed that represents conceptual knowledge of key biophysical processes and feedbacks. Model inputs include satellite-derived surface biophysical and geomorphometric parameters. FCMs are a knowledge-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) technique that merges fuzzy logic and neural computing in which knowledge or concepts are structured as a web of relationships that is similar to both human reasoning and the human decision-making process. Given simple process-form relationships, the analytical reasoning model is able to map the influence of land management practices and the geomorphology of the inherited surface on aeolian instability within the South Texas Sandsheet. Results suggest that FCMs can be used to formalize process-form relationships and information integration analogous to human cognition with future iterations accounting for the spatial interactions and temporal lags across the sand sheets.