© 2013

Introduction to Systems Analysis

Mathematically Modeling Natural Systems


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 1-13
  3. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 15-32
  4. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 33-41
  5. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 43-79
  6. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 81-124
  7. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 125-164
  8. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 165-188
  9. Dieter M. Imboden, Stefan Pfenninger
    Pages 189-226
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 227-252

About this book


This book builds an understanding of what systems are and how they can be described mathematically. In the context of natural science, this knowledge is of great importance. The intended audience are students in applied sciences such as earth and environmental science, geoecology, environmental chemistry and forestry. The focus is on the methods of modeling, with the aim to let readers develop models of their own as well as analyze the properties of models they encounter. Numerous practical examples from the environmental sciences illustrate the concepts, and exercises accompany each chapter. The book is written so as to be easily understandable and includes humorous cartoons. There is no derivation of mathematical formulas or technical description of modeling software. It does, however, require an understanding of calculus for the reader to apply the mathematical methods it introduces.


Applied Mathematics Environmental Science Modeling

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1., Department of Environmental SciencesETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Systems Analysis (IIASA)International Institute for AppliedLaxenburgAustria

About the authors

Dieter Imboden is Professor of Environmental Physics. His research concerns the study of physical processes in aquatic systems as well as problems of energy and climate politics. He is President of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Stefan Pfenninger joined IIASA’s Risk, Policy and Vulnerability Program (RPV) in January 2010. He is contributing to RPV's research on resilience, adaptation and renewable energy. Stefan holds a BSc in Environmental Science from ETH Zurich and an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London.

Bibliographic information


From the book reviews:

“This book is a translation of the German text … by D. M. Imboden and S. Koch. It was developed on the basis of lecture notes for the course in Systems Analysis taught at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich for over twelve years and has been tested in the classroom many times. … Warmly recommended as a concise but comprehensive introduction to mathematical modeling.” (Svitlana P. Rogovchenko, zbMATH, Vol. 1302, 2015)

“Imboden and Pfenninger have written a marvelous book that explores detailed systems analysis for a large variety of systems. The book gives a gentle introduction to one-parameter systems with a simple lake model. … this book is an excellent overview of systems analysis with varied examples and detailed explanations. It is worth having in your library.” (David S. Mazel, MAA Reviews, February, 2014)