Environmental Informatics 2007

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  • Konferenzbeitrag
    Towards New Generation Environmental Information Services
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Wanner, Leo; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Current environmental information services still too often offer “raw” pollution figures in terms of tables and graphics – possibly accompanied by pointers to general background information on the nature of the pollution and its relevance to human health. However, we must be aware that, on the one hand, non-specialists are not able to assess and interpret raw figures, and, on the other hand, certain kinds of pollution (e.g., air pollution) have a highly differentiated impact on different individuals. Therefore, new generation environmental information services must make recourse to techniques of Artificial Intelligence and Computational Linguistics (such as interpretation and reasoning, natural language generation, etc.) to provide adequate information. In this paper, we focus, first of all, on the language aspect. We elaborate first on the requirements with respect to environmental information services and assess then the MARQUIS service in the light of these requirements.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    An Adaptive Framework for Managing Nanoscale Materials Risks
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Shatkin, Jo Anne; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Given rapid development in the production and use of nanomaterials (NM), risk assessment is an important tool for assuring health and environmental protection. An adaptive risk assessment framework is being developed to provide an approach for precautionary decision-making. This step-wise approach integrates an evaluation of current toxicological information and sources of uncertainty about the specific NM of interest, identification of the potential exposure scenarios, and application of risk assessment concepts and tools to evaluate and prioritize management procedures for mitigating NM exposure risk. The adaptive approach allows new information to be incorporated as it is developed, to guide revision or refinement of health and safety recommendations for NM use and handling and for decision-making under uncertainty.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    Assessing Cumulative Risks to Guide Public Exposure Levels Following Disasters
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) MacDonnell, Margaret; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    The public is increasingly aware of the potential for multiple chemicals to cause adverse health effects that may not be accounted for when assessing single chemicals alone. This is especially true in disaster situations, when high levels of many contaminants can be released. Pressures for affected cities to return to normal can be strong, and urban exposures can be difficult to control. To assure health protection in these situations, it is important to consider the possible effects of combined exposures across multiple media and over various population groups. These integrated analyses consider fate, availability of toxicity data and health-based guidelines, and application of cumulative risk approaches. Understanding environmental fate is key to accounting for the appropriate chemical form over various exposure periods of interest, ranging from acute (emergency response) to chronic (final cleanup). Rigorous toxicity data are typically unavailable for humans, and are sometimes limited to anecdotal information or medical case reports. While more data are typically available for animal toxicity, information is often limited across durations of interest, and extrapolation to estimate human effects introduces considerable uncertainty. Although a number of health-based guides exist, gaps are considerable and relevance to the exposure period of interest is again crucial. Cumulative risk approaches are beginning to be applied to assess joint exposures and toxicities of multiple contaminants that could be released, and these more systematic analyses are expected to further inform preparedness planning and response for disaster events.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    DECERNS: Methodology and Software for Risk-Based Land Use Planning and Decision Support
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Grebenkov, Alexandre; Yatsalo, Boris; Sullivan, Terry; Linkov, Igor; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Decisions for environmental contamination problems are often complex due to the need to incorporate many differing measures and views. Strategies to support these decisions with a more systematic framework have evolved along with the development of computer capabilities and analytical tools. The decision process often involves incorporating subjective judgment that reflects public and stakeholder values, while also accounting for cost-benefit, toxicological health risk, and ecological risk assessment methods, along with methods to combine each of these measures. DECERNS (Decision Evaluation for Complex Environmental Risk Network Systems) has been developed as integrated decision support software for environmental problems. This tool combines multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) with geographic information system (GIS) components to frame practical solutions. By also incorporating cost/benefit and risk assessment tools into a common web-based platform, DECERNS permits an integrated analysis that frames effective environmental decision making.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    How to Keep the Quality Chain, Work Flow-Oriented Data Processing for Global Atmosphere Watch Measurement Stations
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Ries, Ludwig; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Like in an information chain the result of quality assurance depends on the consistent high quality of its elements. The Global Atmosphere Watch Programme of the UNO/WMO has a well designed quality assurance infrastructure. Within this framework the essential tasks of measurement and quality assurance have to be solved at more than 400 stations worldwide. This article demonstrates that a workflow oriented integrated software system for data processing and quality assurance is the method of choice for a standardized realisation of the required data quality objectives.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    Protecting Workers: Exposure Limits to Exposure Controls
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Hearl, Frank; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Occupational hygienists have used exposure limits as a trigger for remedial action, a target for engineering control efforts, and as a tool in selecting appropriate personal protective equipment. The limits have often been set in the absence of complete scientific understanding and with significant uncertainties. The formal processes for modifying existing limits or setting new limits are often controversial and slow to respond to changing conditions, such as the introduction of new materials or exposure situations, e.g. mixtures. Hygienists often use professional judgement when dealing with situations where exposure limits are inadequate or non-existent, for example for biological agents and nanomaterials. New systematic approaches to exposure control have been devised that use gross properties, qualitative exposure assessment, and categorical risk phrases to guide in the selection of appropriate control strategies. Applying these techniques along with appropriate professional judgement can be used to protect workers from potentially harmful exposures in the absence of complete scientific information.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    State-of-the-Art in the Dissemination of AQ Information to the General Public
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Karatzas, Kostas D.; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Air pollution is among the most significant and well studied concepts of environmental pressures. Basic aspects of air pollution and air pollutant identification were already discussed some centuries ago, while contemporary air pollution problems, effects and managing legal incentives have already been adopted by various societies long before contemporary life. Yet, the question of, perception , interpretation and communication of AQ information remains open, and needs to be addressed in an effective way, in order to design better pollution abatement strategies and AQ information services. Moreover, contemporary AQ information dissemination methods and tools can now make use of various telecommunication channels for pull and push service provision. These may include internet for e-mail notification, World Wide Web for detailed pollution related information, SMS for early warning services, WAP and J2ME applications in mobiles and PDAs for enhanced graphical and informative content on the move, street panels (VMS) for covering key parts of the urban web and voice services for personal communication support. In addition, location based services are also emerging in the field of personalised, quality of life services. Moreover, communication per se is not based solely on written or oral language forms, but makes use of graphical, symbolical and in more general terms multimedia language communication schemes, via properly designed multimedia environmental information content. The present paper provides information on the state-of-the art concerning people’s perception and awareness of air quality information, and on AQ (and environmental, in general) information dissemination. The paper also draws conclusions concerning the design and the functions of AQ information services, thus providing valuable information to research institutes, authorities and companies working in the area of environmental information dissemination.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    Short - Term PM10 Concentration Forecast Modelling in the MARQUIS-Service
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Lohmeyer, Achim; Duering, Ingo; Hoffmann, Tilo; Nicklaß, Daniel; Soergel, Christine; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    The information system MARQUIS will provide to the public short-term air quality forecasts for selected areas in Europe. Basis for the forecasts are the current data gained by the air quality monitoring stations in the region and forecasts of the meteorological data. For the service concerning PM10, there is a need to do the forecast in the morning, forecasting the daily mean of the PM10 concentration for the current and the following days. The paper presents the examined methods for this short term PM10 forecast modelling at two open country monitoring stations in Germany on the basis of the results of EURAD (classical emission and dispersion modelling based on the area of Europe), Machine Learning, Multiple Linear Regression and Neural Networking. Advantages and disadvantages of the methods are discussed and some of the validations and of the future plans are presented. Additionally, the paper presents the status of the ProFet-System based operational modelling for three vehicle traffic dominated monitoring stations, using a Multiple Linear Regression model. The results of ProFet are foreseen for the real time information of the public and the triggering of measures for ad hoc reduction of vehicle traffic induced PM10 concentrations. Some of the validations and of the future plans are presented for ProFet as well.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    Pollen: A Challenge for Environmental Information Services
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Karppinen, Ari; Sofiev, Makhail; Siljamo, Pilvi; Kukkonen, Jaakko; Ranta, Hanna; Linkosalo, Tapio; Jäger, Siegfried; Rasmunssen, Alix; Nicklaß, Daniel; Wanner, Leo; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Diseases due to aeroallergens, such as rhinitis and asthma, are among major causes of loss of productivity and demand for healthcare. The adverse health effects of allergens can be significantly reduced by either pre-emptive medical measures or behavioural adaptation of the outdoor activity. However, their planning requires reliable allergy-related forecasts several days ahead. Such forecasts should include the start time of pollen season, expected pollen concentration, area of exposure to a particular pollen type, timing of the peak concentrations and durations of the high season. This paper presents a current status of the Finnish Pollen Forecasting system. The system has been already used for operational pollen forecasts during spring of 2007 and also the systematic re-analysis of historical periods is ongoing.
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    Air Quality Information Service in Upper Silesia
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Bronder, Joachim; Klis, Czeslaw; Dlugosz, Jacek; Hryniewicz, Olgierd; Studzinski, Jan; Romaniuk, Maciej
    Within the frames of MARQUIS project, Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas was responsible, among others, for providing a reliable delivery of air pollution monitoring, modelled and forecast data as well as setting up a local air quality database server. The results of these tasks constitute the basis, on which a local air quality information service for Upper Silesia in Polish language, the so called MARQUIS Light (ML), was developed. The service provides current information on concentrations of five air pollutants (SO2, NO2, O3, CO and PM10) for 31 points, representing 14 monitoring stations, 2 health resorts and 15 Air Quality Assessment Zones. In addition to that, the service provides information on Air Quality Index and the relevant health precautions. Apart from the current data, the service provides information on forecast concentrations of four air pollutants (SO2, NO2, CO and PM10) for maximum 48 hours ahead, for 13 points representing monitoring stations. For these data the air quality index is calculated and in the case of an elevated level of air pollution (AQI >3) the reasons of that elevation are determined. Service functionality allows also determining the contribution of a given emission source type in the forecast concentration. This knowledge is one of the basic objectives of the air quality management. The service also provides both current and forecast data related to Polish and EU legislation concerning exceedance of air pollution thresholds. The computational kernel of the service is SINZAP modelling system (System for Identification of Air Pollution Inflow), developed at IETU. In calculations of air pollutant concentrations SINZAP utilizes a trajectory model, which is based on VLSTrack model. It uses three dimensional wind fields as well as spatial distribution of such meteorological parameters like Monin-Obukhov Length, Mixture High and Friction Velocity. Meteorological data used in simulations are obtained from HIRLAM meteorological model of FMI (Finish Meteorological Institute). Besides modelling of air pollutant concentrations SINZAP scans the internet pages searching through the accessible air pollution data, reads from the pages the data on the air pollution from outside of the Silesian Voivodeship. Thanks to adoption of emergency procedures, the information provided by the service is available non-stop, even in the case of failure of a given station or measurement gauge. The service provides information in a tabular, graphical, cartographical and textual form. The potential Silesian market of the MARQUIS Light service is limited to 205 customers, representing governmental administration as well as local governments. Further development of the service is focused on adaptation of the forecast model for ozone and in the case of a successful implementation of the MARQUIS full version at IETU – on introduction of a text generation technology into the MARQUIS LIGHT service.