Environmental Systems Analysis with MATLAB®: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Environmental Systems Analysis with MATLAB®

1st Edition

By Stefano Marsili-Libelli

CRC Press

540 pages | 503 Color Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138490789
pub: 2018-02-12
Hardback: 9781498706353
pub: 2016-03-03
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pub: 2016-04-21
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Explore the inner workings of environmental processes using a mathematical approach. Environmental Systems Analysis with MATLAB® combines environmental science concepts and system theory with numerical techniques to provide a better understanding of how our environment works. The book focuses on building mathematical models of environmental systems, and using these models to analyze their behaviors. Designed with the environmental professional in mind, it offers a practical introduction to developing the skills required for managing environmental modeling and data handling.

The book follows a logical sequence from the basic steps of model building and data analysis to implementing these concepts into working computer codes, and then on to assessing their results. It describes data processing (rarely considered in environmental analysis); outlines the tools needed to successfully analyze data and develop models, and moves on to real-world problems. The author illustrates in the first four chapters the methodological aspects of environmental systems analysis, and in subsequent chapters applies them to specific environmental concerns.

The accompanying software bundle is freely downloadable from the book web site. It follows the chapters sequence and provides a hands-on experience, allowing the reader to reproduce the figures in the text and experiment by varying the problem setting. A basic MATLAB literacy is required to get the most out of the software.

Ideal for coursework and self-study, this offering:

  • Deals with the basic concepts of environmental modeling and identification, both from the mechanistic and the data-driven viewpoint
  • Provides a unifying methodological approach to deal with specific aspects of environmental modeling: population dynamics, flow systems, and environmental microbiology
  • Assesses the similarities and the differences of microbial processes in natural and man-made environments
  • Analyzes several aquatic ecosystems’ case studies
  • Presents an application of an extended Streeter & Phelps (S&P) model
  • Describes an ecological method to estimate the bioavailable nutrients in natural waters
  • Considers a lagoon ecosystem from several viewpoints, including modeling and management, and more


"… a clear and comprehensive exposition of not only the fundamental mathematical and statistical techniques needed to model environmental systems, but also of the underlying philosophy that produces models that are physically realistic and result in predictions that are relevant to taking action in the real world. The development of material in each chapter is lucid and will be accessible to students and the novice modeler, yet detailed enough to be of interest to experienced researchers. The example situations that are modeled are both interesting and timely. … This work is destined to become a classic in the environmental modeling literature."

—William D. Lakin, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, Statistics, and Biomedical Engineering, Emeritus, The University of Vermont, Burlington, USA

"This book is a must for those starting out on modeling and for those who need more technical background, and indeed pragmatic guidance, the latter partly deriving from the author’s wealth of experience. Beautifully written and illustrated in a truly didactic way, it uses ecological models much of the time to give focus. But it really is an excellent book for anyone interested in understanding systems and their key concepts and methods. A bonus for students and teachers is the provision of MATLAB® based exercises to reinforce the learning potential and enhance skill development."

—Tony Jakeman, Australian National University, Canberra

Table of Contents


Environmental Systems Modelling, the Basic Concepts

Attributes and Dichotomies of Environmental Models

Practical Mechanistic Modelling

Environmental Models as Dynamical Systems

Linear Time-Invariant Dynamical Systems

Discrete-Time LTI Dynamical System

Stability of Discrete-Time Dynamical LTI Systems

Continuous-Time Linear Dynamical System

Nonlinear Systems

Numerical Aspects and the Role of MATLAB

Worked Examples

Identification of Environmental Models


Sensitivity Analysis as an Identifiability Test

Gradient-Free Optimization Methods (Direct Search)

Validation of the Estimates

PEAS: A Computer Package for Parameter Estimation of Ecological Models

Analysis of Environmental Time Series


Time Domain versus Frequency Domain of Environmental Time Series

Signal Regularization

Wavelet Signal Processing: Adaptive Combination of Time and Frequency Analysis

Principal Components Analysis

Fuzzy Modelling of Environmental Systems

Introduction to the Fuzzy Logic

Building a Fuzzy Inference System

The MATLAB Fuzzy Toolbox

Fuzzy Modelling

Fuzzy Clustering: Aggregating Data by Similarity

Population Dynamics Modelling

Single-Species Continuous-Time Population Models

Single-Species Discrete-Time Population Models

Harvested Populations


Prey–Predator Models

Food Chains

Flow Reactor Modelling

Continuous-Flow Reactor Modelling

Plug-Flow Reactor

Diffusive Reactor

Microbial Kinetics Modelling

Enzymatic Reaction Kinetics

Microbial Metabolism of Carbonaceous Substrates

Microbial Metabolism of Nitrogenous Substrates

Microbial Metabolism of Phosphorus

Analysis of Aquatic Ecosystems

The Oxygen Cycle in the Aquatic Environment

A Short-Term Oxygen Dynamical Balance

Analysis of the Circadian DO Cycles by Wavelet Filtering and Fuzzy Clustering

Extending the Spatial–Temporal Validity of DO Models

Beyond S&P: A Water Quality Model Case Study

Estimation of Nutrient Bioavailability in Rivers

Modelling an Horizontal Subsurface Constructed Wetland

Environmental Assessment of a Coastal Lake and Surrounding Wetlands

A Fish Habitat Suitability Assessment Based on Fuzzy Logic


About the Author

Stefano Marsili-Libelli received a cum laude MS degree in electronic engineering from the University of Pisa in 1973. Later that same year, he joined the University of Florence and since that time has served on the engineering faculty—first as a technical assistant, then as an associate professor (1983), and finally as a full professor (2000). A founding member of the environmental engineering curriculum at the University of Florence, he is also director of the Laboratory of Environmental Process Control, and an associate editor for the ISI international journals Environmental Modelling & Software and Water Science & Technology.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MATHEMATICS / Probability & Statistics / General
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General