IMAGE 3.0 released

07-07-2014 | News item

Today, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency released a new version of the integrated assessment model framework IMAGE – IMAGE 3.0. One of the world’s leading integrated assessments modelling frameworks, IMAGE has been improved to strengthen its relevance in assessing long-term environmental and sustainability problems and identifying possible answers. The new model version comes with fully updated documentation, both in print and as a webpage.

Integrated assessment model IMAGE

The integrated assessment modelling framework IMAGE has been developed to understand how global, long-term environmental change and sustainability problems develop over time, driven by human activities, such as economic development, and population growth. Similar to other integrated assessment models, IMAGE can be used to identify these problems and to advise on possible response strategies.

Earlier versions of the IMAGE model have been used to support various international assessments, including IPCC assessments, UNEP’s Global Environment Outlooks, OECD’s Environmental Outlooks and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Moreover, the model has been extensively used in the scientific literature.

New in IMAGE 3.0

In IMAGE 3.0, the descriptions of several critical areas of global environmental change have been improved, including the dynamics of land-use change, water use, and energy demand and production. This strengthens the model’s relevance for addressing certain questions; for example on how to reduce biodiversity loss and climate change, while safeguarding food and energy security.

New features in IMAGE 3.0 include:

  • Detailed energy demand modelling
  • Forest management
  • Land use and landscape composition on 5 arc minutes
  • Updated Crop and Carbon cycle model
  • Global water model
  • Nutrient balances for soils and coastal seas
  • Climate model and data updated to MAGICC 6.0
  • More impacts: flood risks, ecosystem services, human health
  • Climate policy: optimal strategies and cost-benefit analysis

The IMAGE 3.0 book

The new model documentation, which accompanies the new version, provides a complete and concise description of the IMAGE 3.0 integrated assessment model framework, and highlights how the model is used to assess key policy issues, such as climate change, air pollution, land-use change, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity. The book has been prepared for those working at the science–policy interface: clients, partners or those using IMAGE 3.0 for conducting assessments. It focuses on policy issues, general model description, example results, linkages between model components, and uncertainties and limitations. For more detailed information, reference is made to underlying scientific publications.