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Addendum - Measuring, Modelling and Uncertainty

Addendum - Meten, Rekenen en Onzekerheden. De werkwijze van het RIVM-Milieuonderzoek

Synopsis

This report describes the research methodology of the RIVM as a response to recent criticism that too little measuring is done, that there is too much reliance on models and that RIVM does not communicate the uncertainties of data and model results sufficiently to politicians. The methodolgy described demonstrates that recommendations from the RIVM are based on a well-balanced combination of scientific knowledge, mathematical models and monitoring data. Theoretical concepts are validated by measurements or experiments. Validated models are used to optimize the measurement efforts and to interpolate monitoring data. Furthermore, the models give the measurements an extra dimension, describing the processes and causal relationships behind the monitoring results as they do. Uncertainties are part and parcel of any scientific research and this is well communicated to the scientific community. In policy-oriented reports uncertainties are normally described qualitatively rather than quantitatively, except where uncertainties can affect the policy conclusions. In these cases quantitative uncertainty margins are reported and (the need for) additional research is mentioned.The report describes the uncertainties in measurements and model results for the main environmental problems: climate change, ozone layer, acidification, tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, eutrophication, noise pollution and external risks related to airport developments. Further to this is an outline on how environmental data are gathered and what models are used.
 

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