Help with attribution/causality

#1
Hello everyone! I am new to this forum, but excited to become more involved :tup:

I am currently a mathematics/statistics student and I am looking for some ideas on how to proceed with some of my summer research. I hope I posted this in the right forum, if not, sorry!


I have recently been handed an inordinate amount of data (upwards of 30 gb) to analyze for an ecological model. The input data is historical spatial data for land use characteristics and other fun things based on a common grid (around 30 input parameters such as: crop type, land cover, precipitation, forest cover, etc....)

My output data is 6 different variables that have been created based on a complex mathematical model using all of the inputs (and also forecasted beyond the input time periods)

Let's take one output variable for example and call it Y. I have been asked to look at Y and explain what is causing its change between years. Say Y goes up 20 from year1 to year2, what most likely caused that?

So I want to look at changes over time in the dependent variable and find what independent variable(s) to attribute it to. I am assuming I also need to consider interactions between the independent variables and somehow deal with that.


Any suggestions, books, and/or papers to read would be fantastic! Thank you very much for your time