To understand the importance of networks for the development of our civilization and innovation in environmental engineering and earth sciences, you need to go back to 1654. Then the first meteorological network in the world, called the Florentine or Medici network, was launched.
It comprised 11 stations operating on a uniform basis, including one station in Warsaw. Although Ferdinand II of Medici is recognized as the creator of this network, her success was the result of not only the prince’s obsession with new technologies, the construction of new meteorological instruments and their practical application, but also the activities of his younger brother, Cardinal Leopold Medyceusz, who founded one of the first scientific societies in Europe – Accademia del Cimento. These innovative concepts in the 17th century Tuscany can also be interpreted as Galileo’s legacy in a broader perspective. This precursor of modern physics postulated the systematic application of the experimental method in the study of nature phenomena.
It is thanks to him that science for the first time had a “method” to acquire knowledge of objective, reliable and verifiable reality using hypothesis testing. These were groundbreaking changes that we often forget today, although they formed the foundations of the natural sciences. And you have to remember that without the invention of a liquid thermometer, its calibration and scaling, parallel measurements throughout the entire network of stations and the proper development of their results, today we probably would not know whether our climate is changing on a global scale? And what has determined the success of the Medici network is its marriage with Accademia del Cimento, and thus using the latest scientific achievements to interpret the results of experiments. Although Galileusz was a postulator of science-based science and empiricism, as he emphasized, the accumulation of facts alone is not science.
The project of the Polish Atlas of Rain Intesities PANDa is part of its philosophy of the above heritage of the Florentine network, Accademia del Cimento and Galileo’s cognitive method. The project processed for the first time rainfall data from a network of 100 rain gauges in Poland over a period of 30 years. Thanks to the digitization of nearly two thousand years of records from pluwiographs and the standardization of records from various types of electronic rain gauges, a coherent precipitation base was created in high digital resolution. This base was digitally processed giving off maximum rainfall. The values of the obtained precipitation maxima were verified based on independent sources of information on precipitation, including e.g. radar data. It did not stop at this “accumulation of facts”.
The application of the latest achievements in the field of statistics, including primarily geostatistics, allowed us to describe not only the relationship in time, but also in space between the maximum rainfall in Poland. Thanks to the implementation of modern geostatistical simulations, it was possible to generate a real precipitation atlas for the first time. It contains a catalog of nearly 13 thousand unique precipitation models, probabilistic models linking the height (intensity) of authoritative rains with their duration and probability of their occurrence, assigned to specific mesh of 5 km by 5 km, stretched all over Poland.
The models developed in this way are not the result of statistical description of data from individual rain gauges, but the effect of simultaneous processing of data from the rain gauge network. Thanks to this, for the first time the intensity of authoritative rains from the PAND atlas for any location in the country is read with confidence intervals.
Nevertheless, the PANDa project is connected not only with the rain gauge network, but also with the Internet network
, which has been revolutionizing our lives since the late 1980s. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that displaced printed encyclopedias, even defines the concept of the Internet of Everything (IoE) as a network of people, processes, data and things connected to the Internet
. With this in mind, the PAND atlas is not printed in the form of a catalog of maps and tables on paper. Acquiring information on the intensity of authoritative rains throughout Poland is possible from the internet portal https://portal.atlaspanda.pl/
, and the location selection is as simple as searching on the gogle.maps portal.
However, the goal is not only to provide digital information on the intensity of authoritative rains. A more far-reaching goal is to connect PANDa with a network of people – i.e. designers who want to use the atlas to reliably and safely design real drainage systems. This is to be achieved by developing parallel with leading companies – suppliers of drainage systems technology, drainage systems designer platform. It is to be a node of innovation networks that respond to the challenges posed by drainage systems today and tomorrow in the light of the need to adapt to climate change.
This description will be the axis of the paper by Professor Paweł Licznar and Tomasz Grochowski titled: Why are we looking for answers on the web? in the We’re digital session.