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2020
Tuesday, September 15th
11:00 AM

Modelling the impact of citizens-led scenarios on air quality in European urban areas

Vera Rodrigues, CESAM, Portugal, University of Aveiro

11:00 AM - 11:20 AM

ClairCity is a research project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, which aims at improving future air quality and carbon policies in European cities by initiating new modes of engaging citizens, stakeholders and policymakers. ClairCity assessed environmental, health and economic impacts, through a quantification framework. This framework consists of an integrated urban module based on the household and dwelling characteristics, emission data (road transport, industrial and residential), air quality patterns and related population exposure, health-related impacts and costs, and carbon footprint estimates. The ClairCity framework contributed to apportion air pollution not only by technology, but also by citizens’ behaviour, considering the baseline as well as future scenarios translating the expectations of citizens and local experts. A distinct final Unified Policy Scenario was designed for each of the six pilot cases of the ClairCity project. For the urban area of Bristol, the final Unified Scenario will lead to a maximum reduction of 87% of the NO2 concentrations in 2050, and a maximum reduction of 57% of the PM2.5 concentrations. For the Aveiro region, another pilot case of ClairCity, a distinct Unified Policy Scenario was designed, leading to a maximum reduction of 84% of the NO2 concentrations in 2050, and a maximum reduction of only 17% of the PM2.5 concentrations. The slight decrease of the PM2.5 concentrations is mainly associated with the lack of measures focusing on the citizens’ practices of wood burning for residential heating. In conclusion, the overall air quality will significantly improve in 2050 with the implementation of the Unified Scenarios over the six pilot cases of the ClairCity project. In each pilot NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations will distinctly decrease depending on the current air quality status of each city and on the distinct levels of ambition of the scenarios.

11:20 AM

Statistical analyses of model ensembles for policy support

Judith Verstegen, University of Münster, Germany

11:20 AM - 11:40 AM

Scenario-thinking has become common in modelling for policy support, particularly through the climate change mitigation scenarios developed over the successive IPCC reports. Often, multi-model ensemble runs are performed, representing a set of possible descriptions of the modelled system to account for our limited understanding of this system. For each scenario, this results in a distribution of model outcomes that represents the range of potential system states and their probabilities. In our opinion, model outcome distributions are not used to the fullest at the moment. For example, only the median and minimum and maximum are reported, possibly because policy makers are not trained as statisticians and demand simplicity. Thereby, valuable uncertainty information is discarded. The general situation of having one or more distributions of a variable is not new: scientific domains that deal with experiments, the collection of data samples, or user studies have a developed a wide range of statistical methods to derive information from such distributions. We argue that these statistical methods can be applied to multi-model ensembles to translate model output uncertainty into simple, policy-relevant information. We aim to demonstrate this on the multi-model ensemble from the SSP/SR1.5-database. Herewith, we answer questions such as: 1) How certain can we be that we will stay below a particular GHG-emission/cost/carbon-price limit for each scenario? 2) Are the differences between scenarios significant given the uncertainty in the model ensemble? The answers show whether the designed mitigation measures are robust in the light of our limited understanding about the modelled system.

11:40 AM

Supporting fisheries management in the European context: a reflective approach based on a concrete experience in participatory modeling

Claire Macher, Ifremer, UMR AMURE, France

11:40 AM - 12:00 PM

In the context of the Common Fisheries Policy, implementation of management plans for fisheries and annual Total Allowable Catches negotiations have led to a growing demand for impact assessment from decision makers and stakeholders. This has led to the development of a number of integrated models used for impact assessment in the European decision support framework based on the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries. A Decision Support Framework has been developed and applied at EU level in this context with the objective to tackle the technical and practical challenges of providing decision support in fisheries. It is based on a technical protocol developed within a participatory approach engaging stakeholders, managers and scientists. After a presentation of the context and challenges identified to support decision in fisheries, the paper presents the approach developed and the lessons learnt from the concrete experience of decision support in the Bay of Biscay Fisheries. Technical challenges related to tools and data are explored as well as challenges related to stakeholders and managers engagement and participation. The paper adopts a reflective approach based on a concrete experience of supporting fisheries management in the European context to explore the technical and practical challenges of participatory modeling. Conclusions highlight the need for developing innovative transdisciplinary platforms for decision support, clarifying roles of each partner.

12:00 PM

The impact of Urban Waste Water Directive on European water quality: a scenario analysis

Olga Vigiak, European Commission, Italy, Ispra

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC; UWWTD) set the framework for the development of the European wastewater treatment system. More than 25 years after its inception, the European Commission undertook a retrospective evaluation of the Directive as part of the Better Regulation initiative and the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme. Within the evaluation, this study assessed the reduction of nutrients and organic matter in European waters brought by the UWWTD. Politically relevant scenarios were defined with stakeholders, including present situation, the past (1990), future full implementation of UWWTD, and a ’what-if no Directive’ scenario. Further, we investigated the importance of individual and other appropriate systems (IAS) to collect and treat parts of agglomeration waste where connections to sewer networks are not economically justified. Loads and concentrations of 5-days Biochemical Oxygen Demand, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus under the scenarios were quantified with European scale conceptual models. Coherence of approaches with regard to policy questions was evaluated through stakeholder workshops and regular conversations with policy-makers, allowing adapting models and data structure to the scope of the evaluation. Model transparency and reliability were ensured via scientific peer-review publication process. Results quantify the significant reduction of wastewater emissions of pollutants to surface waters achieved with implementation of the UWWTD. IAS treat only a small part of the EU population equivalents, their impact at the EU scale is comparatively small. Implementing wastewater treatment to full compliance with UWWTD would further bring important reductions of pollutant loads and these are comparable with other sources of pollution, namely urban runoff and combined sewer overflows. Both of these sources are not specifically addressed by the Directive, which contains only general principles regarding diffuse urban pollution and stormwater. Finally, while reducing urban loads is important, reducing loads of organic matter and nutrients to receiving water bodies requires addressing also agricultural sources. Defining a common glossary and setting clear objectives at the onset of the work and continuous exchange among all involved helped establishing a constructive dialogue between policy and science that drove the analysis to a successful conclusion and posed the basis for supporting further policy development.

12:20 PM

Using foresight to tailor policy approaches for sustainable agricultural practices

Hedwig van Delden, RIKS

12:20 PM - 12:40 PM

European agriculture faces a real challenge: it must reduce its negative environmental impacts but also remain competitive. A key area of concern is the ongoing degradation of agricultural soils, which is likely to increase further in the coming decades because of climate and socio-economic factors. While there are well-known agricultural management techniques that can help to improve soil quality, uptake of these techniques remains low in Europe - despite various policy incentives. The SoilCare project studies the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, in particular those related to improving soil quality. To do so, it looks at various scales (from local to European level) at the bio-physical, socio-economic, political, and technological factors impacting on adoption of these practices. Knowing that these factors will change and interact over time in complex ways, bringing inherent uncertainties with them, we carry out a foresight approach to deal with these complexities and future uncertainties. We use a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques in a multi-actor approach to develop scenarios for agricultural practices in Europe that are both sustainable and profitable. Based on interviews with stakeholders at European level, policy-relevant scenario framing is determined along two axes: future challenges for voluntary instruments and future challenges for mandatory instruments. This was subsequently used as the basis for qualitative scenario development in a participatory setting to create narrative storylines. We developed a tailor-made integrated assessment model to quantify these storylines, and to assess their impact on soil quality and farm profitability. Finally, the combined results of the modelling and the narratives provide input in identifying best policy approaches, tailored to different contexts and future pathways. This presentation will focus on the process of integrating information from various sources using several different techniques, as well as on the link from developed scenarios to policy support.

12:40 PM

Development of Water Quality Models to Support the European Union Bathing Water Directive in Ireland

Daniel Hawtree, University College Dublin, School of Civil Engineering, Dooge Center for Water Resources Research

12:40 PM - 1:00 PM

The European Bathing Water Directive (BWD; 76/160/EEC 2006) requires the implementation of early warning systems for bathing waters which are subject to short-term pollution events. To this end, the EU SWIM project is developing coastal water quality prediction models and alert systems at nine beach sites in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which represent a range of baseline water quality and site conditions. At each site, statistical / machine-learning models are being developed based on their site-specific relationships between faecal indicator bacteria and multiple environmental variables, whose predictions are then transmitted to the public via multiple means (e.g. online, electronic signage). This presentation provides an overview of the end-to-end system under development and a summary of the underlying data and models being used to drive predictions. Following this overview, three key topics related to modelling for support of the EU Bathing Water Directive are discussed: (1) the need for an acceptable “baseline model” to serve as a benchmark for model performance and to improve model development; (2) the importance of utilizing model performance metrics which are interpretable and relevant to stakeholders (i.e. beach managers) to improve model transparency and uptake; and (3) the need to effectively communicate the inherent trade-off between model sensitivity and specificity (i.e. true versus false alarm rates) to establish an acceptable level of model performance on a site-by-site basis. This presentation offers a “model developer perspective” on the challenges and opportunities of these topics and puts forward proposed solutions to better address them.

6:20 PM

Selection of candidate amphibian dermal exposure models for regulatory use

Tom Purucker, US EPA

6:20 PM - 6:40 PM

Dermal exposure is a potentially significant but understudied route for pesticide uptake in terrestrial amphibians. Beyond providing protection and minimizing desiccation, the skin of amphibians has unique characteristics for gas and water exchange that make amphibians more susceptible to chemical exposure than other vertebrates. Until recently, evaluation of terrestrial pesticide risk in both amphibians and reptiles was not explicitly considered for ecological risk assessment and was often accounted for by using birds and/or mammals as a proxy. To address the lack of a consensus terrestrial amphibian dermal exposure approach, we collated a database with published measured pesticide tissue concentrations associated with known pesticide application rates. The data set includes tissue concentrations for 11 amphibian species and 12 different pesticides. We then constructed a set of amphibian exposure models, including EFSA and USEPA models for the regulatory assessment of pesticides, parameterized these candidate models and compared their performance. We present the results of the model selection exercise for estimating pesticide exposure in terrestrial amphibians. When evaluating performance, we considered two types of objective functions, binomial classification and distance approaches, to account for differing goals of maximizing protection and statistical accuracy. The classification approach characterizes false negative model predictions as the proportion of under-predicted exposures. The distance approach uses information criteria to statistically find the best approximating model. We present the technical implementation, how to resolve discrepancies between the proposed EFSA and USEPA models, and adaption of the exposure model for differing goals of regulatory screening and population modeling application.

Thursday, September 17th
12:00 PM

Co-developing a knowledge portal to support stakeholders in utilizing uncertain multi-model based information on freshwater-related hazards of climate change

Fabian Kneier, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

Co-produced climate services are increasingly recognized as a means for effective generation and utilization of relevant climate information to support decision-makers in taking climate change into account in their risk portfolios. However, there is a structural lack of appropriate, tailored climate services and tools, particularly in developing countries. Among the challenges are (1) how to represent uncertainty quantitatively in a way that is both scientifically correct and utilizable to the diverse users of the hazard information and (2) how to integrate global information with quantified uncertainty into regional-scale assessments of water-related climate change risk and adaptation assessments in a participatory manner. In the CO-MICC project (ERA4CS), a knowledge portal is co-developed with stakeholders based on global-scale multi-model simulations of hydrological variables and derived products. We adapted the tandem framework of the Swedish Environmental Institute (SEI) for the co-production process. Participatory stakeholder dialogues through 7 workshops from focus regions in Europe, Africa, and finally with globally-acting companies serve to integrate the various experiences, needs and expectations of various regions and users. The relevant modelling output variables were co-produced with the stakeholders as well as appropriate end-user products: these encompass static and dynamically generated information in the visualization tool, including interactive maps, diagrams, time series graphs, and suitably co-developed statistics, with appropriate visualization of uncertainty. The visualization tools will be complemented by meta-information, tutorials and handbook guidelines with use cases how to utilize the provided information in models of local participatory risk assessments. The service will reach a broad range of stakeholders from around the world (policy makers, practitioners NGOs, the private sector, the research community, the public in general) to access this information for their region of interest for free. Finally, the project produces new knowledge about the optimal design of co-development processes and enables social learning and capacity building.

12:20 PM

The Virtual River Game: Using a Physical Game Board as an Interface to a Hydrodynamic Model

Robert-Jan den Haan, University of Twente, the Netherlands

12:20 PM - 12:40 PM

Achieving flood safety norms is central to river management in the Netherlands. Hydrodynamic models are used to determine whether flood safety norms are met by predicting water levels and flow patterns for specific river discharges. However, many river management stakeholders view these models as black boxes. This is a problem because hydrodynamic models are used to support and substantiate decision-making. To address this issue, we set out to create the Virtual River Game where various stakeholders, both with and without hydraulic modelling experience, can collaboratively work with a hydrodynamic model and experiment with interventions. As a solution, we created a physical game board as a tangible user interface to the Delft3D Flexible Mesh hydrodynamic model. The game board represents a Dutch river stretch as a hexagonal grid with 143 tiles. Each tile is always filled with game pieces that contain information on the tile’s elevation and land use through visual markers. The interface turns the board digital by analyzing the markers in a picture taken with a webcam that is placed underneath the board. The digital board is used to create a land use distribution and a digital elevation model that matches the hydrodynamic model’s numerical grid through an inverse distance interpolation. The model’s output (water levels and flow patterns) are visualized on the game board by a projector. In the Virtual River Game, players use the board to apply interventions by rearranging game pieces and to inspect the effects of interventions through the projected visualizations. Results from initial game sessions indicate that the interface enables stakeholders to collaboratively work with the hydrodynamic model regardless of their expertise and background. The interface presents new opportunities to enable stakeholders to work with environmental models used in practice.