ICCS2004 Application Submission/Review

Abstract for
"Cognitus"


PETROBRAS (the Brazilian national Oil Company) has built a pipeline to transport crude oil from the Urucu River region to a terminal in the vicinities of Coari, a city located on the right side of the Solimoes river. Tankers then ship the oil to another terminal in Manaus. Between dry and wet seasons the Solimoes river oscillates water level reaching up to 14-meter difference. This strong seasonal character of the Amazonian climate gives rise to four distinct scenerios in the annual hydrologic cycle: low, high, receding and rising waters. These scenarios constitute the main frame for definition of oil spill response planning in the region, since flooded forest and flooded vegetation are the most sensitive fluvial environments to oil spills. The actual methodology applied to evaluating environmental risk areas includes image processing, cartographic conversion and generation of value-added product using 3D visualisation. It focuses on improving information supply about oil spill environmental sensitivity in Western Amazon in order to improve analysis and interpretation of remote sensing and digital topographic data. It is undeniable that this index has provided a great deal of information about the oil spill environmental sensitivity. However, this view is poor and ambiguous when applied to understanding of Amazon environment. Unfortunately, it is not sufficient to cover the whole complexity of Solimoes River's patterns. The River seasonal variation is represented by intricate arrangement that change in time. The hydrological cycle produce and do away with flooded forest. The landscape will regulate the flora and wildlife spatial distribution and the riverside communities' habits. This web of relations is progressive and evolutionary. A reductionist treatment is not possible. A wider approach to this problem is needed. This problem gives rise to the COGNITUS project. It is a theoretical and empirical study of the Amazon complex system. From molecular to ecological and evolutionary scales it is treated as interdisciplinary research. There is a deep interaction of Mathematics, Art, Philosophy, Semiotics, Computational Science, Robotics, Remote Sensing, Chemistry, Hydrology, Geology, Ecology, Botany, Genetics, Sociology, Economics, among others. They become partners in building up a cognitive tool to identify esthetical and logical patterns in the Solimoes river flood plain. Our group intends to establish a regular framework for understanding the natural complex process that occurs in this place. We are starting from the hypothesis that aesthetic perception, logic of relatives, and complexity theory must be included to understanding these environmental relations. It will allow us to build up a wider sensibility map that will provide a solid base for designing better strategies to oil spillage contingency. It is fundamental to reduce risks of accidents and to allow PETROBRAS to elaborate more efficient oil spill response planning.