There are several groups of analytical tools in the domain of
Environmental Impact Assessment and Air Quality Management:
Specific tools to support EIA, usually based on
checklists and data management with limited analytical or modeling
capabilities; rule based expert system that can guide through an entire EIA
process are one prototypical example.
for the individual impact categories;
in the air pollution domain, these are models that translate
emission scenarios into ambient air pollutant concentrations
or immissions, typically dispersion models.
Generic data analysis tools, including a range of
statistical tools such as time series analysis
including advanced methods such as neural networks, genetic algorithms,
or machine learning approaches that attempt to derive forecasts from
the analysis of historical observation data.
Environmental Impact Assessment: an introduction
Member States shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure that, before
consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on the
environment by virtue, inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made
subject to a requirement for development consent and an assessment with regard
to their effects (97/11/EC).
A short summary of the
Austrian EIA legislation
described by Umweltverträglichkaeitsprüfungsgesetz
BGBl 1993/697 idF BGBl 1996/773 is based on:
- Bergthaler, W., Weber, K., and Wimmer, J. (1998)
- Die Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung.
Praxishandbuch für Juristen und Sachverständige.
633 pp., Manz, Wien.
An on-line PowerPoint based slide show provides an overview of
Environmental Impact Assessment, its history, p
hilosophy, and the basic methodology of the process.
EIA home page
Environmental Impact Assessment:
Background and State of the Art
From: Fedra, K., Winkelbauer, L. and Pantulu. V.R. (1991)
Expert Systems for Environmental Screening.
An Application in the Lower Mekong Basin.
RR-91-19. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. A-236l
Laxenburg, Austria. 169p.
Human activities, such as those that relate to large scale water resources
development projects, construction, agriculture, energy,
industry and development projects, considerably affect the natural
environment. These effects or impacts occur during the construction phase,
the operational life time of a project, and in many cases, as with waste
disposal sites, may continue long after closure of a plant or site or
the completion of a development activity.
Consumption of natural resources, including space, water, air and biota,
and the generation of wastes including the dissipation of energy and
noise, usually lead to a degradation of the natural, and above all, the
Air Quality Simulation Models
An essential tool for environmental impact assessment in any domain,
and certainly for air quality impacts, are simulation models.
They provide the capability to forecast the effects of any
emission source that may be part of a project subject to an
environmental impact assessment.
Numerous air quality models
have been developed and are described
in the scientific literature, many of them available in the public
domain, as well as a number of
complete modeling systems that
combine the basic models with monitoring data, GIS, and
various assessment functions. Fir an example of an integrated system
for air quality assessment and management combining monitoring
and modeling, visit the AirWare System home page !
Generic Tools: GIS, data analysis
The various EIA methods draw on a broad range of tools,
including many general purpose data processing and analytical
The most important ones among them are:
geographical information systems (GIS), for the capture, management,
display, and analysis of georeferenced data; basic methods include overlay
and buffer analysis.
statistical analysis, with basic tools such as time series analysis,
histograms, regression, analysis of variance, cluster analysis, etc.