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Bourne S.,PBS and J, Inc. | Haleblian J.,Algoloma Systems LLC | Tidwell A.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Schnabel W.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Brumbelow K.,Texas A&M University
World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability - Proceedings of the 2011 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress | Year: 2011

This paper will describe the technological aspects of the North Slope Decision Support System (NSDSS) a project currently underway to develop a water resources management solution in support of oil and gas exploration on the North Slope. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the NSDSS will consist of an information system, software tools for decisions support, and methodologies for facilitating stakeholder involvement in the decision making process. The NSDSS is initially focused on the process of constructing ice roads across the tundra using water in North Slope lakes. Envisioned as a framework for general water resources planning on the North Slope, the NSDSS will not only apply to the water management issues considered here, but will also be applicable to broader environmental management issues and industry development applications. The NSDSS consists of (1) a cyberinfrastructure (CI) composed of a network of federated databases, and (2) a MS Silverlight based web portal tool (NSDSS.net) that allows for easy data exploration, publishing, water quality and quantity analysis, and ice road planning. The CI contains databases of GIS, field observation time series, net-CDF file based General Circulation model results, and user-created models that work with these input data. Using NSDSS.net, users can explore and publish data, create models of water quality and quantity, and assess the impact of proposed ice road alignments in terms of important stakeholder criteria. Among the innovations necessary to implement these features have been methods for serving data from multiple databases in a unified system. This requires 1) semantic mediation to allow "natural language" queries of federated databases, 2) coincident handling of point and grid datasets, 3) unit mediation to convert raw data from its base units to common units for analysis, 4) automated time series processing to ensure time series are converted to the correct interval and statistic from their database source, and 5) ensuring data security in a shared technology framework. Additional innovations include 1) user friendly and power data exploration and publishing tools, 2) a model database, to which users can publish their models for review and re-use, and 3) new web services for checking the acceptability of targeted ice road routes in terms of their likelihood of disturbing endangered species such as polar bears during their denning process. © 2011 ASCE.


Brumbelow K.,Texas A&M University | McDonald W.,Texas A&M University | Bourne S.F.,PBS and J, Inc. | Schnabel W.F.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Tidwell A.,University of Alaska Fairbanks
Society of Petroleum Engineers - Arctic Technology Conference 2011 | Year: 2011

On the North Slope of Alaska, ice roads and ice pads provide a cost-effective means of oil and gas exploration with minimal impact to the sensitive underlying tundra. They have become integral to oil and gas exploration activities. Their widespread use represents a challenge to water resource managers, however, due to the large volume of water required to construct and maintain them - water that is typically extracted from the many lakes that dot the landscape. Crucial questions on water balance and ecosystem impact must be considered in the state regulatory process that permits construction of these ice structures. More importantly, these questions must be considered by the community of North Slope stakeholders together in order to arrive at equitable plans that satisfy stakeholder objectives of economic development and environmental and cultural preservation. Under a grant from the National Energies Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, the North Slope Decision Support System (NSDSS) is currently being developed as a system the stakeholder community can use together in the ice road planning process. Major modules of the DSS include information systems, natural system models, and planning and management functions. Development of the DSS is a collaborative effort of academic and industry personnel with significant stakeholder involvement from multiple agencies of local, state, and federal government, private energy companies, and non-governmental organizations. NSDSS includes multi-objective planning routines for ice road routes. Pareto-optimal route alternatives are determined for cost, travel time, completion date, and other objectives. Spatial search domains are built using geographic information system (GIS) layers for a range of variables including water availability, vegetation and wildlife sensitivity, and topography, among others. Ant Colony System (ACS) optimization is utilized with novel algorithms for graph pre- and post-processing to improve solution efficiency. Output from the planning routines allows decision makers to understand tradeoff relationships among objectives. The ice road planning (IRP) algorithm includes water balance analysis to understand likely long-term impacts on regional water resources and possible adaptation measures. Copyright 2011, Offshore Technology Conference.


Brumbelow K.,Texas A&M University | Aryasomayaula A.K.,Texas A&M University | Bourne S.F.,PBS and J, Inc. | Tidwell A.C.,University of Alaska Fairbanks
World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010: Challenges of Change - Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010 | Year: 2010

The North Slope Decision Support System (NSDSS) is currently under development as a technology in support of oil and gas exploration and development that explicitly considers optimal water use, direct and cumulative environmental impacts, and multiple objectives and values among stakeholders. Major modules of the DSS include information systems, natural system models, and planning and management functions. Development of the DSS is a collaborative effort of academic and industry personnel with significant stakeholder involvement from multiple agencies of local, state, and federal government, private energy companies, and non-governmental organizations. Ice roads and ice pads provide a cost-effective means of oil and gas exploration with minimal impact to the sensitive underlying tundra. Consequently, these ice structures have become integral to oil and gas exploration activities on the North Slope. Their widespread use represents a challenge to water resource managers, however, due to the large volume of water required to construct and maintain them. Crucial questions on water balance and ecosystem impact must be considered in the state regulatory process that permits construction of these ice structures. NSDSS includes multi-objective planning routines for ice road routes. Pareto-optimal route alternatives are determined for cost, travel time, completion date, and other objectives. Spatial search domains are built using geographic information system (GIS) layers for a range of variables including water availability, vegetation and wildlife sensitivity, and topography, among others. Ant Colony System (ACS) optimization is utilized with novel algorithms for graph pre- and post-processing to improve solution efficiency. Output from the planning routines allows decision makers to understand tradeoff relationships among objectives. The current form of the ice road planning (IRP) algorithm will be extended to include water balance analysis to understand likely long-term impacts on regional water resources and possible adaptation measures. © 2010 ASCE.


Bourne S.F.,PBS and J, Inc. | Haleblian J.,Algoloma Systems | Tidwell A.C.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Brumbelow K.,Texas A&M University
World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010: Challenges of Change - Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010 | Year: 2010

Ice roads and ice pads provide a cost-effective means of oil and gas exploration on Alaska's North Slope with minimal impact to the sensitive underlying tundra. Consequently, such ice structures have become integral to oil and gas exploration. Their widespread use represents a challenge to water resource managers, however, due to the large volume of water necessary to construct and maintain them. As the proximity of available fresh water sources has a significant impact on the planned location of ice roads and ice pads, changes in water resource management strategies could significantly impact oil and gas exploration activities. This paper will describe the technological aspects of the North Slope Decision Support System (NSDSS) a project currently underway to develop a water resources management solution in support of oil and gas exploration on the North Slope. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the NSDSS will consist of an information system, software tools for decisions support, and methodologies for facilitating stakeholder involvement in the decision making process. Envisioned as a framework for general water resources planning on the North Slope, the NSDSS will not only apply to the water management issues considered here, but will also be applicable to broader environmental management issues and industry development applications. The NSDSS will consist of 1) a service oriented architecture (SOA) based cyberinfrastructure composed of a node-link network of federated databases at Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Barrow Alaska, 2) a desktop-based workbench tool, which is an extension to ESRI's ArcMap software, and 3) a virtual globe-based web browser tool. The cyberinfrastructure will contain databases of GIS data, time series of meteorological and hydrological data at points and as gridded products, and papers describing scientific findings relevant to the North Slope. Using the workbench, users will be able to assess the impact of proposed management alternatives vis-à-vis important stakeholder criteria by simulating the implemented alternative in an integrated model of the physical systems on the North Slope (hydrologic, meteorological, ecological, etc). The web browser will provide an intuitive view of the North Slope, the data available, and indeed the data gaps to be filled. © 2010 ASCE.

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