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Environmental Informatics 2007

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  • 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
    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
    Assessing Cumulative Risks to Guide Public Exposure Levels Following Disasters
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) MacDonnell, Margaret
    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
    An Adaptive Framework for Managing Nanoscale Materials Risks
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Shatkin, Jo Anne
    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
    Towards New Generation Environmental Information Services
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Wanner, Leo
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Text Planning of Air Quality Information
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Bouayad-Agha, Nadjet; Wanner, Leo
    Two of the premises of the Multimodal Air Quality Information System known as MARQUIS are that (1) air quality information is dynamic (i.e., it might change every hour) and different data variations should be expressed differently, (2) people have different expertises, needs and interests about air quality and this must be reflected in the content and style in which this information is conveyed to them. The text planning module in MARQUIS achieves precisely that: it selects the content that is of relevance to a specific user from the mass of air quality information produced by the interpretation module, and arranges this information into a coherent discourse that takes into account the dynamic content and the profile of the user in the required platform. In this paper, we describe how we addressed these issues of dynamic content selection (section 2) and user modelling (section 3) in the text planning system of the MARQUIS project. These play an active role in the production of the ouput text plan (section 4) as they contrain the order of propositions and the types of discourse relations that occur between the propositions (section 5). We describe the architecture of the text planner (section 6) before giving some conclusions (section 7).
  • Konferenzbeitrag
    State-of-the-Art in the Dissemination of AQ Information to the General Public
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Karatzas, Kostas D.
    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
    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
    Addressee-Tailored Interpretation of Air Quality Data
    (Environmental Informatics and Systems Research, 2007) Nicklaß, Daniel; Bouayad, Nadjet; Wanner, Leo
    Most of the available air quality information systems deliver only raw air quality data like pollutant concentrations. This raw data is rarely self-explanatory and is not sufficient to inform the general public on air quality. To provide comprehensive air quality information to the public the data has to be assessed and interpreted focusing on the addressees requirements. These requirements differ a lot depending on social, cultural and knowledge backgrounds or the state of health. This paper will show how this user tailored interpretation is implemented in the EU funded project MARQUIS (Multimodal AiR QUality Information Service for General Public).