Skip to main content

About this book

An integrated approach to environmental data management is necessitated by the complexity of the environmental problems that need to be addresses, coupled with the interdisciplinary approach that needs to be adopted to solve them. Agenda 21 of the Rio Environmental Conference mandated international programmes and organizations to take steps to develop common data and information management plans, and steps have been taken in this direction.
The key word that defines the framework of the present book is `integration'. The book establishes the basics of integrated approaches and covers environmental data management systems within that framework, covering all aspects of data management, from objectives and constraints, design of data collection networks, statistical and physical sampling, remote sensing and GIS, databases, reliability of data, data analysis, and the transformation of data into information.

Table of Contents




The Need for Integrated Approaches to Environmental Data Management

The paper presented focuses on basic needs for data management and for integration of efforts towards information production as required by sound environmental decision making. Need for integrated approaches is indicated between: (a) each step of the data management system; (b) different disciplines involved in environmental monitoring; and (c) different countries so as to facilitate international exchange of information for the solution of global environmental problems.

N. B. Harmancioglu

Prevailing Problems in Environmental Data Management

All stages of data collection and information retrieval reflect significant shortcomings such that a special effort must be put in managing our data systems to obtain the required information. The presented paper summarizes these shortcomings first in a general framework and then on specific steps of data management, i.e., design of data collection programs, physical sampling, laboratory analyses, data processing and transfer of data into information.

M. N. Alpaslan

Objectives, Constraints and Institutional Aspects of Environmental Data Management


Organizational Aspects of Environmental Monitoring and Information Management

Findings of the EU study “Monitoring Water Quality in the Future”

Monitoring can be performed in many ways, and it is known that the Member States of the European Union (EU) use different approaches in monitoring water quality. In 1993, the project “Monitoring Water Quality in the Future” was initiated in order to make recommendations to the EU concerning optimization of design and organization of monitoring activities in the European Union. In the framework of this project, five studies were completed in 1995, which reviewed methods and strategies for monitoring of water quality, including emphasis on organizational aspects of monitoring on a European scale.The study identified certain widespread problems with the existing state of monitoring, which will only increase in the future. In general terms, these problems concern: (1) the type of information gained from monitoring; (2) the high cost of monitoring, and (3) the harmonization of monitoring throughout the Member States. Regarding the data harmonization, it was recognized that differences in existing monitoring practices create problems when transboundary issues arise. Rivers and ecosystems do not respect human boundaries between local governments or countries; thus, integrated watershed management is required to solve the problems in water management. This creates an increasing need for transboundary monitoring programs and unbiased monitoring information on a European-wide scale. Comparability and availability of data is a prerequisite. The organization of environmental monitoring activities that lead to effective and efficient information generation and management are presented in the following.

M. T. Villars, S. Groot

Data Management and the European Union Information Policy

A correct environment policy from its conception to its implementation and control depends highly on the quantity and the quality of relevant information. Without data, it is not possible to monitor environment-related phenomena and to validate the models used to predict their evolution. Therefore, environmental data and information are very important instruments, which, together with other technical, financial and legal tools, allow an adequate policy formulation and make the assessment of its implementation possible.Information is not only a requirement for policy-making or strategic planning but a tool of vital importance at the other two levels of the decision-making process: managerial and operational. In any case, to be useful, information must be relevant to the end to be achieved, complete and easily understood. If there is a need for data interchange, then it must be comparable and easily available.In past years, the European Union has issued a number of legal instruments (directives and council and commission decisions) on the harmonization of information exchange and on making the access to environmental information easier. However, this harmonization per se does not guarantee either better and comparable data or better information on the environment. There is a need for harmonizing all phases of data management from data acquisition to data archiving and processing.At the European level this task is now assigned to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) which was created to supply those concerned with the Community environmental policy with reliable and comparable information. Meanwhile, a significant component of the European Water Policy is under revision.After some generic considerations on information requirements, this paper addresses the role of information in the decision-making process both at national and European levels and summarizes the European Union water policy on data harmonization and exchange.

M. A. Santos

Nature’s Data and Data’s Nature

Technology provides us with immense capabilities of acquiring, processing, archiving, presenting and distributing environmental data and information in great quantities. However, a number of fundamental problems needs to be solved before this technology can contribute effectively to operational integrated environmental management.The paper first addresses the requirements for integrated environmental management and the resulting needs for data and informatioa Subsequently, it addresses the process of imaging Nature into a data system and then discusses some key aspects of such a data system. This will illustrate both the capabilities and limitations of current systems and will identify the needed developments.Finally, a vision is presented on a future operational integrated environmental data and information system. Suggestions are given as to the required elements of such a system. Ideas for pilot projects are proposed to implement, test and further develop the suggestions given. In due time a world-wide environmental information system may emerge.

P. J. F. Geerders

Integrated Approach — A Key to Solving Global Problems

This paper provides a view of the key features which characterize the process of integration of some aspects of environmental data management based on the experience of the oceanographic community. It suggests a set of measures designed to make the integration process effective in order to provide data users with timely access to the wide range of environmental data.

I. Oliounine

Policy and Decision Making as a Focus for Integrated Data Management

The purpose of the presented paper is to foster a conscience about the need for an added policy dimension within the environmental datacollecting and modeling community. To this end, the need for defining the ultimate goal of data management is stressed, and the policy process by which “raw” data are transformed into knowledge is described.

J. Mayda

Design of Data Collection Networks


On the Proper Selection of Surrogate Measures in the Design of Data Collection Networks

Designers of data collection networks seldom can optimize the parameters of their designs on the basis of their effects on the true measures of the objectives for which data are to be collected. Therefore, surrogate measures are commonly employed to fill this vacuum. In such cases, too little concern for the communality of the surrogate and the desired effects can result in networks that not only are inefficient, but also can lead to the collection of data that have negative real impacts. Frequently, the maximization of information content is selected as a surrogate because of the rather common belief that all information is good. If this choice is made myopically, the context in which decisions are made can result in poorer decisions with greater amounts of information. Part of the context of the problem definition is the selection of which of the definitions of information content will be used -- that of minimization of statistical entropy of Shannon or that of minimization of error variance of Fisher? Examples of the shortcomings of each are used to illustrate the care that must be taken in choosing the surrogate metric of optimality.

M. E. Moss

Improved Predictions of Water Quality Values and Design of Sampling Strategies Based on Entropy Theory

Two recent developments are presented, which can assist in: (i) the prediction of water quality values at certain types of discontinued water quality monitoring stations; and (ii) determination of an optimum sampling frequency which is the most effective balance between the costs of monitoring and the information obtained from the data so collected. The information entropy concepts of information loss and transferred information are refined as measures for evaluation of the “informativeness” and “representativeness” of temporal sampling frequencies. The method produces more accurate predictions of water quality more frequently than traditional regression techniques.

I. C. Goulter, A. Kusmulyono, D. P. Irwin

Designing and Redesigning Environmental Monitoring Programs from an Ecosystem Perspective

The expectations of environmental monitoring are changing. In the past, the investment in environmental monitoring was focused on the economic interests of society. Today, there is an increasing emphasis on investing in environmental monitoring to provide information about the state of ecosystems and their long-term sustainability. This shift is significant, and new approaches to environmental monitoring are needed which address these new concerns. The nature of the changes this shift entails are described. At the center of this change is the question of how to determine what information should be obtained to meet future requirements. The need for developing methods which link different types of data is outlined. The issue of the transition to a monitoring system which links data sources, models, and forecasting in the ecosystem framework is addressed. This paper describes the need to change aspects of our data collection programs, the focusing of data collection on the questions and problems that need to be addressed in the future, and the risks associated with shifting towards collecting data to meet future needs.

P. H. Whitfield

Temporal (and Spatial) Scales and Sampling Requirements in Environmental Flows (with Emphasis on Inland and Coastal Waters)

The basic time (and length) scales governing the physical transport and mixing processes in aquatic environments are briefly reviewed in an ecohydrodynamic perspective. Such time scales are: the molecular diffusion time, Td, the falling particle time, Tf, the mixing time, Tm, the advection time, Ta, and the Kolmogorov (or viscous) time, Tk. For large water bodies, two more time scales can be formulated based on the Coriolis frequency, fc, and the Kibel frequency, fk. These time scales form several spectral windows, which correspond to the scales of external forcing or of intrinsic mechanisms, determine the hydrodynamic processes that may significantly interact with the various populations of the aquatic communities, and govern the dynamics of the aquatic system. Motions at the time scales of the weather of the aquatic environment are resonant with the ecosystem dynamics and impose to the ecosystem certain length scales through the process of ecohydrodynamicadjustment. Knowledge of such characteristic time scales facilitates the selection of appropriate strategies for sampling environmental quantities and satisfying the frequency sampling requirements.

Y. Papadimitrakis, J. Nihoul

Physical Sampling and Presentation of Data


Monitoring, Evaluation and Presentation of Air Pollution Data and Their Consequence in Environmental Data Management Systems in Middle Europe

Air pollution is usually described by emission, transport, ambient air concentration and deposition of various pollutants in connection with the geography and meteorology of a polluted area. Air pollution data are achieved by measurement (monitoring) and/or by calculation (mathematical modeling or production balance). The increasing knowledge on adverse effects of various substances on the main components of environment water, soil, nature as well as the atmosphere itself- results in an arising number of observed air pollutants. Some air pollutants are responsible for water and soil acidification. Heavy metals and organic compounds are responsible for toxicity of soil and water. Some pollutants lead to the greenhouse effect as well as to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.Intense environmental pollution in middle Europe during the second half of this century is the reason why a lot of measured and calculated air pollution data are at our disposal today. Selected emission, ambient air concentration and deposition data from particular country-oriented data registers are included in European databases. An overview of continental emission data is included in the European program CORIN AIR. Selected ambient air concentration data are included in the European program EMEP.Sharing of air pollution information in an integrated approach to the environmental data management system is essential for the full use of air pollutant data registers with aspect to their significance for other parts of the environment.

J. Kurfürst

Sampling of Municipal Solid Wastes

Solid waste characteristics and relevant parameters must be determined as an essential step towards solid waste management. To this end, sampling has to be carried out by the most effective and efficient means. The paper presented discusses how a sampling program can be designed to collect data on municipal solid wastes. It is not intended here to discuss how solid waste characteristics can be determined on the basis of available samples.

K. Curi

Integration of Remote Sensing Information, Digital Elevation Models and Digital Maps Within a GIS to Generate New Spatial Environmental Data Sets for Water Management Purposes

In recent times, it has become apparent that environmental information systems are useful only if they work with a high resolution in space. Detailed area information is required in order to identify environmental dangers, changes in the ecosystems and for planning of environmental protection or rehabilitation measures. This is also true for hydrological and water management systems dealing with water quantity and water quality. Also, hydrological modeling data sets are needed which are distributed in area, both as input to hydrological models and for determination of parameters of hydrological models. Therefore, the focus of this paper is on hydroecological data sets exposing a high resolution in space. In ecological and hydrological modeling, we need such data sets for many parameters so that the acquisition, storage and retrieval of such data forms a major problem, particularly since such multiple data sets are required also in a multi-temporal form. The handling of these data sets is reasonably done with the aid of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Three types of area data with a high resolution in space will be discussed here: a) remote sensing data, b) Digital Elevation Models and c) digitized maps. Examples will be given in the paper for long-term changes in an environmental system for various parameters, e.g. urbanization, forest diseases, and reduction of agricultural areas. Historic changes of such parameters will be demonstrated as well as a method for forecasting changes in these environmental parameters for future conditions. The use of the overlay concept allows merging data from different sources (remote sensing, digital maps, Digital Elevation Models) with a high resolution in space. By merging of these different data sets, new information is generated having a new quality for monitoring or modeling environmental systems. Examples of such new products will be shown.

G. A. Schultz

Use of Remote Sensing Data from Airborne and Spaceborne Active Microwave Sensors Towards Hydrological Modeling

In this paper, the current state of remote sensing applications is reviewed, including sensors, platforms and remote sensing systems for hydrological studies, as well as applications of remotely sensed data in studies of precipitation, snow and ice, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, surface water and runoff, and catchment characteristics.More attention is paid to active microwave remote sensing of soil moisture. After reviewing some representative electromagnetic backscattering models, a case study on the sensitivity of ERS-1/SAR data for soil moisture retrieval from bare soil fields is presented. Using the Integral Equation Model, it is shown that it is difficult to obtain accurate soil moisture estimates for smooth bare soil fields using single frequency, single polarization measurements. Further, it is also shown that the sensitivity of radar measurements to surface roughness quickly reduces as roughness approaches values observed in common agricultural fields. This indicates that retrieval of soil moisture for normal bare agricultural fields is feasible given that the roughness parameters are known a priori and with sufficient accuracy.A recent remote sensing experiment in hydrology, EMAC’94/95, is also outlined and some results obtained using data acquired from this experiment are presented. Based on ESAR multifrequency data sets, a methodology was proposed to retrieve surface soil moisture using “calibrated soil roughness” characteristics. This method provides an alternative to overcome the difficulties encountered in in-situ measurement of surface roughness parameters for input into theoretical backscattering models and hence provides opportunities for operational application of remotely sensed soil moisture in hydrological modeling.

F. P. De Troch, P. A. Troch, Z. Su

Health and Environment Geographic Information Systems (HEGIS) for Europe and Requirements for Indicators

The main principles of HEGIS consist of geographic environmental monitoring, health surveillance and health risk assessment of environmental hazards. Principle priorities are: contaminated food and water; ambient air and indoor air pollution; urban health and occupational health. The application of health-related environment indicators (definable environmental conditions or trends which suggest potential harmful health effects and environment) and related health indicators (health outcomes which suggest an environmental cause, or a contribution from environmental factors) are recommended to characterize health risk and/or to identify possible environmental factors responsible for adverse health effects.

A. A. Kuchuk, C. A. Van Der Heijden

Data Processing and Reliability Considerations


Transboundary Water Pollution Monitoring: Data Validation and Interpretation

Water quality management and pollution control in a river basin require representative data on quality and pollution indicators. Data collection should be based on a well designed monitoring program, and its implementation must be realized in a quality assured manner. Quality assurance in environmental monitoring is a complicated issue even in the case of a single country, and it is further complicated in an international river basin. The monitoring approach and the level of capabilities, e.g., experience, instrumentation, could be different in the riparian countries. This requires efforts for harmonization of the transnational monitoring program using validation methods and forcing quality control measures including intercomparison exercises for analytical quality control.The Monitoring, Laboratory and Information Management Sub-Group (MLIM-SG) in the Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin (EPDRB) is responsible to harmonize the water quality monitoring in the Danube catchment. In 1996, implementation of Phase 1 of the Trans-National Monitoring Network (TNMN) is going on in 11 countries. Each country is represented by a National Reference Laboratory (NRL). Prerequisites of data validation include the selection of appropriate methodologies, development of laboratory facilities, organization of integrated training, and implementation of performance testing for analytical quality control which are coordinated by the Laboratory Management Working Group (LMWG). In the framework of the international programme, Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) are prepared, and the intercomparison exercises are performed in the QualcoDanube and other performance testing schemes. The results of the regularly distributed test samples show significant improvement in the analysis of nutrients.Different statistical approaches are used for data interpretation and presentation which should be adjusted to the water quality management information needs. It is important to differentiate between information needs at political level and water expert level. Water quality targets and objectives are under development in one of the specific research projects and will provide basis for interpretation. Although interpretation methods used in other countries could be copied in many cases, regional and local conditions should be considered. It is expected that the efforts made in the Danube river basin will achieve their objectives to obtain reliable, comparative monitoring results for pollution control.

P. Literathy

Conceptual Filters for Data Quality Assurance

Implementation of Fuzzy Logic in Oceanographic Data Quality Assurance

Environmental information is the result of extremely complicated natural processes. This information enhances our understanding of the underlying phenomena. Collection and processing of oceanographic data involve a complex sequence of events. At every stage of this process, human, instrumental, analytical, data processing and retrieval errors of different nature and origins may occur. Data quality assurance should therefore be a basic step to safeguard the reliability of information. In the paper, some basic approaches of conceptual nature are introduced. Every data set passes through several tests. Examples of these are: basic laws of nature, prior conceptual knowledge of relevant processes, mass balances, extreme events and empirical cross-correlations between measured parameters. These tests of data credibility are formulated in fuzzy logic that constitutes the unifying method in the adopted approach. Brief introduction to fuzzy logic is also given.

O. Uslu

Organization of Marine Data Processing in Real Time Mode

Unlike well advanced and coordinated system of meteorological community, which is operating under the auspices of the World Weather Watch Programme of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), oceanography has still to go a long way to make marine data processing efficient and coherent. International activities in this regard are largely connected to the development of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), a new important initiative of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, which was supported by several major UN organizations. One of eventual goals of GOOS is provision of broad spectrum of real time oceanographic products, and it will be achieved through establishing new and considerable development of already existing data processing systems.

V. E. Ryabinin

New Approaches to Development of Integrated Methods for Data Processing in Environmental Monitoring Systems

This paper considers theoretical and practical aspects of an integrated system development for data processing and presentation. In this system, there are three approaches: statistical data processing, data precision assessment through an expert system and knowledge based application, reliability assessment on the basis of a mathematic model of the natural process. Substantial importance is given to the development of a knowledge base about surface water quality and wastewater discharges (pollution sources). The results of the approaches are demonstrated on specific examples of data processing for a river network with an application of the demonstration version of “Hydrochemistry” expert system.

G. Suchorukov

Modern Theory of Reliability and Control of the Environment

The possibilities and perspectives for use of the modern theory of reliability in assessment of the quality of the environment and ecosystems, including tolerable disturbances, are described in this work. In addition, some aspects of data collection for the control of environmental conditions and some measures for reduction of these experiments are briefly stated.

T. E. Mirtskhoulava

Statistical Sampling and Analysis


Probabilistic Flow Duration Curves for Use in Environmental Planning and Management

When dealing with the planning and management of water uses in a river, the knowledge of the probabilistic structure of minima of daily or of multiple-day flows is often required. As a tool for straightforward determination of different levels of flow minima, flow duration curves (FDCs) are particularly suited for planning purposes. In this paper, FDCs referred to annual samples are interpolated with lognormal curves, and their probabilistic structure is obtained through the statistical analysis of the two lognormal parameters. Distribution of these parameters is shown to be normal so that the discharge with a given duration and return period T can be easily evaluated. To build FDCs in ungaged basins, relations between the moments of the parameters and catchment characteristics have been investigated with reference to the data available in the Basilicata region (Italy). For both parameters, most of the variance of the first moment can be explained by the Base Flow Index (BFI), which can be estimated from geology. The second moment can be derived considering that the coefficient of variation is constant over the whole region. Since the curves are considered in dimensionless form, estimation of the mean annual runoff is finally needed to obtain the dimensional probabilistic FDCs in ungaged sites.

P. Claps, M. Fiorentino

Estimation of Missing Values with Use of Entropy

Hydrologic records are commonly found to be incomplete. The missing values are estimated in a multitude of ways. Entropy-based methods are proposed in this study. These methods are applied to several complete data sets, and the missing (assumed) values are estimated. The estimated values compare well with the observed values and show that the entropy-based methods are reasonably accurate. A comparison with the normal ratio and inverse distance method is made.

V. P. Singh, N. B. Harmancioglu

Principal Component Analysis of Hydrologic Data

Analysis and modeling of the characteristics and regionalization of hydrologic data in which both the spatial and the temporal components are simultaneously considered has recently received increased attention.Two problems related to the analysis of spatial-temporal data are discussed in this paper. The first of these relates to the predictability of spatial-temporal data over a region. Although the predictability of a process measured at a location has received considerable attention in time series analysis literature, the predictability of a process over a region has not received commensurate attention. Methods to estimate regional predictability are discussed and some examples are presented. These examples deal with rainfall, runoff and droughts over a region. The time scales considered are months and years.The second problem considered is that of representation of spatial cause-effect data. Principal component analysis may be used to develop principal datum and estimated patterns which bring out the causal connections between two sets of spatial data. The theory of computation of estimated patterns is discussed. Examples of the use of this method to investigate the causal connections between spatial rainfall-runoff and rainfall-drought data are presented.

A. R. Rao, T. T. Burke

System of Identification of an Optimum Flood Frequency Model with Time Dependent Parameters (IDT)

The IDT System serves to identify an optimum flood frequency model with time dependent parameters from a class of competing models and then to design high flow structures in a changing environment. The maximum likelihood method is used to estimate the parameters of each model and the Akaike Information Criterion for the identification of an optimum model. In all, six probability distribution functions are included, namely, normal, two and three parameter lognormal, Fisher-Tippett I, Gamma, and Pearson III. A time trend can be assumed in the two first cumulants, i.e., (a) in the mean value, (b) in the standard deviation, and (c) in both the mean and standard deviation, keeping the variation coefficient constant in time. It can be either of a linear form, which adds one parameter to the number of parameters to be estimated in a stationary case (S), or a square trinomial form, which adds two parameters to the stationary model. Altogether, it makes up 42 competing models. The system can be used for a time series with random observation gaps without the necessity of filling them in. The IDT System contains the procedure for estimation of a probability distribution together with the standard error not only with respect to one year but to a period of any length as well.The IDT System can be used for any environmental time series as long as its elements can be considered independent and the skew of the distribution being non-negative. Emphasis is put on data requirements, and both model and parameter uncertainties are discussed with the focus on hydrological design under nonstationarity.

W. G. Strupczewski, W. W. Feluch

Performance of Groundwater Quality Models Evaluated with Data Containing Errors

Groundwater quality models tend to be complex in their physical, chemical and biological structure containing a large number of parameters. A large amount of data is needed for calibration and verification of these models, and frequently these data contain errors. The Monte Carlo method is applied to evaluate the uncertainty associated with their performance caused by data errors. The uncertainty analysis provides estimates of statistically reliable model outputs of contaminant concentration and arrival time.

A. G. Bobba, V. P. Singh

Environmental Databases


The Development of Ecological and Hydrological Integrated Environmental Data Sets Within the UK and the Establishment of an Environmental Change Network

There is a long history of monitoring, transmission, validation and archiving of ecological and historical data within the UK. The NERC’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is one of the principal custodians of the terrestrial and freshwater data. In addition, it manages the UK’s multi-agency corporative Environment Change Network (ECN) and, using high speed computing and GIS, has developed advanced systems to integrate and disseminate the ECN multidisciplinary data and many of the other CEH Data holdings. The integration of data in this way is leading to new scientific insights in environmental processes and to the development of predictive models for use by policy makers.

W. B. Wilkinson, T. W. Parr, A. M. J. Lane

Marine Environmental Data Formatting Systems and Formats for Data Collection, Accumulation and Dissemination Including International Exchange

Environmental geo-reference data formatting means (i.e., concrete formats and formatting systems) on technical media (magnetic tapes, diskettes, CD-ROM, and others) are actively developed for data management within the framework of scientific projects and international and bilateral exchanges of data on marine environment Data formats are usually designed to fit specific project needs, taking into consideration such factors as data volume, data diversity, host computer, telecommunication requirements, and data documentation requirements.

N. N. Mikhailov

Multipurpose Database Management Systems for Marine Environmental Research

Two special marine database management systems which are developed by the Database Laboratory of the Marine Hydrophysical Institute are described in this paper. The first system (CruBase) was developed to provide the effective management of the data of oceanographic cruises (multiship surveys). The data of up to 320 measured variables for 3000–4000 oceanographic stations can be stored in each database. The main advantage of the system is the possibility to make the cross-discipline cross-variable queries. It contains a special subsystem that provides an effective quality control of the data loaded into the system. The second system (OceanBase) does not have the same limitations for the number of stations and variables. It consists of the modified CruBase system and commercial DBMS FoxPro. Both systems have been widely used in recent years in many projects related to the Black Sea environment.

V. L. Vladimirov, V. V. Miroshnichenko

Transfer of Data into Information for Environmental Decision Making


Integrated Environmental Information Systems: From Data to Information

Environmental problems are almost always spatially distributed and dynamic, and are characterized by the complexity of the underlying processes. Environmental data can either be of very high density and volume, for example, those from automatic monitoring equipment or remote sensing instruments, or rather sparse and with a high sampling error, if resulting from traditional sampling methods and analytical procedures.To be useful for the support planning and decision making processes, environmental data have to be transformed into information that meets the requirements of these processes. Environmental planning and decision making require: (a) the integration of large volumes of often disparate and multiformat information from numerous sources; (b) the analysis of this information with complex tools and models for assessment and evaluation; and (c) effective methods of communication of results that also allow broad, interactive participation in the planning, assessment, and decision making process.Information systems based on the object-oriented integration of GIS with database management, remote sensing and image processing, simulation and optimization models, expert systems, and decision support tools, provide some of the elements to effectively support environmental planning and management. GIS can provide a common framework through georeferencing information and an easily understandable presentation style in the form of topical maps, linked to functional objects that use various models. Modern information technology, and in particular multimedia applications accessible through the Internet, hold promise of fulfilling many of the goals set out in UNCED Agenda 21, chapter 40 on Information for Decision Making.

K. Fedra

Assessing the Performance of a Nation in Improving River Water Quality: Planning Action for the Future

River water quality in England and Wales improved by 28% from 1990 to 1995. This is a statement based exactly and entirely on data collected and processed by fixed and published rules and placed on Public Registers. This paper sets out how we deal with error, how we prevent error leading to wrong decisions on the action needed to improve water quality, and how we transfer the data into hit lists of priorities for action.

A. E. Warn

Analysis of the Information Content of Environmental Data Using GIS Procedures

This paper shows how the entropy concept can be used inside the GIS to evaluate information content present in spatially distributed data structures. More specifically, referring to both raster and vector data structures, some experiences are shown which have been obtained on an experimental basin about the use of the entropy concept in the identification of the most suitable data set (characterized by means of the smallest data volume) to describe the rainfall-runoff process.

G. Mendicino

Decision Support and Expert Systems for Evaluation of Hydrometeorological Conditions at Sea

Pilot bases are created of impacts and recommendations for prompt actions under radionuclide contamination, ecological disasters in towns, and floods, etc. The demonstrational variants of Decision Support Systems (DSS) are also available for such objects as sea port, city and other cases (50 subsystems). The developed tools and techniques of knowledge acquisition permit mass creation of the bases of impacts and recommendations for extreme situations and standard industrial objects.

E. D. Vyazilov

Integrated Methods for Obtaining Specialized Hydrometeorological Information

Hydrometeorological support for marine branches of the economy and safety of human activities on offshore regions require knowledge of the main hydrometeorological variables (wind, sea level, currents, wind waves) and their extreme characteristics with long return periods of 25, 50 and 100 years. These characteristics are related to the frequency and the intensity of disastrous hydrometeorological phenomena. Organization of long-term observations in offshore areas is often infeasible. Current attempts to calculate these characteristics on the basis of interpolation of data obtained on coastal stations are not methodically justified. Consequently, the only means of studying these hydrometeorological variables is to use integrated methods that include computer processing of the available data and hydrodynamic and probabilistic modeling.The description of sea levels and currents must include estimates of rare values. The most important features in the hydrodynamics of coastal seas and gulfs are related to motions arising as a result of propagation of long waves through open boundaries. That is why the majority of storm surge studies and prediction methods use 2D hydrodynamic models based on shallow water equations. Design and installation of stationary shelf oil and gas platforms require information about the vertical structure of currents. These characteristics are obtained by the simulation of 3D hydrodynamic models. Probabilistic modeling permits to obtain climate characteristics with long return periods. Such integrated methods are developed at the State Oceanographic Institute of Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet).

O. I. Zilberstein, G. F. Safronov, O. A. Verbitskaya, S. K. Popov, M. M. Chumakov

Conclusions and Recommendations


Conclusions and Recommendations

The keyword in the designated objectives of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Integrated Approach to Environmental Data Management Systems is integration. Accordingly, the two basic questions addressed at the Workshop were: a)do we need to integrate environmental data management systems? If yes, then why?b)what needs to be integrated?

N. B. Harmancioglu, M. N. Alpaslan, S. D. Ozkul

Case Studies


Water Quality Monitoring Activities of the State Hydraulic Works

State Hydraulic Works (DSI) is a leading multiple function governmental organization in Turkey, which is responsible for carrying out almost all subsector activities at all stages of water resources development. DSI ensures long term supply of drinking, domestic, and industrial water. It plans, executes, and in most cases, also operates works for flood protection, irrigation and drainage, as well as for hydropower generation.The purpose of the routine and continuous water quality monitoring practices of DSI is to determine the present and to predict the future situation of water resources in terms of quantity and quality and to take some preventive measures to provide safe and healthy water.Water quality monitoring activities throughout Turkey have been carried out by State Hydraulic Works since 1979. Observations were initially started at 65 sampling points which reached a number of 1080 locations at present. In these practices, not only the sources that are under the threat of pollution and contamination, but also those having no potential pollution risk are monitored in order to prepare a proper database.The collected water quality data are loaded on the computer for purposes of applying different statistical methods. As an example of data evaluation and utilization, the project “Environmental Assessment and Determination of Management Strategies in Büyük Menderes River Basin”, carried out by DSI, is summarized in the paper to demonstrate how water quality data can be used in the management of water resources.

I. Salihoglu, A. K. Onur

Monitoring and Assessment of Biological Status of a Watercourse Towards an Integrated Approach to Water Management

It is known and generally accepted that monitoring and assessment of the ecological status of a running water cannot be performed without biological elements. This paper presents some considerations about biological monitoring and biological methods, describing some relevant indices which are used in the European Community. The advantages and the disadvantages of such indices are considered towards their integration into water management policies. These aspects are studied for the characteristic aquatic ecosystems of the Olt River which is affected by anthropic impacts — pollution and hydropower dams.

G. Jula, G. Ivancea

Water Monitoring in Irrigation Systems

The aim of water monitoring in irrigation systems is to develop methods and measures to control qualitative and quantitative characteristics of irrigation water. This paper deals with problems related to the characteristics and criteria for assessment of surface and underground waters as main environmental components in irrigation systems. Problems related to irrigation and drainage waters are also covered as they constitute sources for the present and future pollution.The methodology of monitoring and organization, terms of sampling and their calculation, and the method for ecological assessment of real conditions in irrigation systems are given.The results can be used by water users, state offices delivering water, and regional environmental control offices, located in corresponding agricultural regions, to control water quality and quantity impacts on the environment.

N. Gadjalska

Some Results of Environmental Monitoring in Kyrgyzstan: Atmospheric Transfer of Contaminants

As a result of many years of research on environmental parameters in Kyrgyzstan, the main sources of radioactive and toxic matter contaminations have been established. The territory of Kyrgyzstan is constantly exposed to pollution by radionuclides caused by stratospheric, tropospheric, and local atmospheric fallouts. The other sources are the uranium tailings located at some places, which are a real threat for the environment and human health.Some methodological questions about the influence of geophysical conditions on the territorial distribution of contaminations have been considered. The tropospheric mechanism of contamination transfer for different seasons of the year has been suggested.

K. A. Karimov, R. D. Gainutdinova

GIS as a Tool in Data Management in the Coastal Zone: An Application to Izmir Bay

Since coastal zones are ecologically sensitive areas where the stresses due to economic developments are comparatively higher, much more objective decisions are needed to prevent, or at least to minimize adverse effects of excessive impacts. Parallel to their importance in other areas of natural resource management, geographical information systems (GIS) can be considered as indispensable tools for the coastal zone as well.GIS have the potential for significantly enhancing data management efforts in the coastal zone since: much of the coastal data are spatial in nature;GIS are sophisticated and fast-responding tools for decision makers, with the capability to incorporate a wide variety of data sources including remotely sensed imagery;GIS contribute to the better understanding of links between the sea and the land processes in the coastal zone by supporting statistical analysis, modeling and impact assessments;most significantly, GIS actually create new forms of information from the same data set rather than just retrieve previously encoded information.The following are the six potential applications of GIS in integrated coastal zone management (ICZM): cartographyland managementfreshwater habitat managementmarine habitat managementPotential for aquaculture developmentCoastal resources studyIn this paper, the features of a database and information system, which includes GIS as a tool of data management, are presented as components of an integrated approach to coastal zone management of the Izmir Bay, which is a heavily polluted marine environment mostly due to inefficient management.

A. Akyarli

Environmental Assessment of Geological Hazards Related to Sulphur Exploration in Poland Using Remote Sensing and GIS

Intensive exploitation of sulphur in Poland during the past 25 years has caused many changes in natural ecosystems. Different data were applied for analysis of these changes: multi-temporal aerial photos, Landsat 5 TM images, topographic, geological, hydrogeological maps etc. The aim of the project was to develop an efficient and cost-effective methodology for detection of geoenvironmental change, using remote sensing data and GIS, and to perform comprehensive analysis of land use, pollution of underground and surface waters, geological conditions, and terrain subsidence above the exploited mining sites.

M. Graniczny, T. Janicki

Oceanographic Data Development for Anoxic Zone Boundary in the Black Sea

Modern oceanographic data development technology plays a great role in research on different scales of phenomena in oceans and seas. A particular use relates to a special information technology for analysis of the location of the upper boundary of the H2S zone (UB of the H2S zone) in the Black Sea from annual data. The paper presented describes the results of such an analysis in the case of the Black Sea.

A. M. Suvorov, V. N. Eremeev, A. Kh. Khaliulin, E. A. Godin

Development of a Monitoring System for Water Quality Control in Ukraine

This paper outlines the conceptual structure of environmental quality control at a regional level in Ukraine. Problems in integrating a data management system into the processes of environmental control are discussed, and tasks for system improvement are briefly stated.

A. Kuzin, E. Makarovski

Collection, Accumulation and Utilization of Data in IGOSS RNODC of Russian Federation

Responsible National Oceanographic Data Center (RNODC) for Integrated Global Ocean Station System (IGOSS) of Russian Federation receives, via communication lines, oceanographic data from ships (BATHY and TESAC messages) and from buoy stations (DRIBU, DRIFTER, BUOY messages), and then processes, checks, archives them, and services users. This paper contains the description of the technology for collection, accumulation and utilization of IGOSS data.

I. Z. Shakirzyanov

Analysis of Climatic Characteristics of Hydrometeorological Conditions at the Sea

An optimal scheme of obtaining climatic hydrophysical characteristics is considered. The full scheme of data interpolation is realized in the CIRS Oceanography in two steps: derivation of statistical characteristics for the data set and the use of the procedure of norms interpolation. The presented paper focuses on various aspects of these two steps.

A. A. Vorontsov

River Basin Environmental Passport and Database

Serious ecological problems in Belarus stipulated by large-scale land reclamation and water pollution due to diffuse and point sources necessitated the elaboration of a river basin environmental passport. Different types of information about the environment, embracing components of both animate and inanimate nature, were included in the document called an environmental passport. To facilitate the process of accumulating and distributing information, a special computer program is worked out.

B. V. Fashchevsky, L. G. Shulicka

Application of Databases for Decision Making

The authors propose an approach to the assessment of potential members of teams to be involved in implementation of the programs and projects in the area of environmental protection. The method involves prompt selection of information from several databases according to certain criteria, description of possible ways of problem solution, procedures design of new databases for purposes of decision making. This approach is based both on qualitative information obtained from official sources and on expert evaluation. Expert estimations allow to determine capabilities of research teams to solve particular tasks in the area of environmental protection, to hold competitive selection procedures aimed at identification of the most promising teams in this respect. The authors propose a set of procedures for evaluation purposes as well as principal characteristics which serve as criteria in course of the evaluation process.

L. Kavunenko, V. Pugachev


Additional information