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Quantification of Variability and Uncertainty for Air Toxic Emission Inventories with Censored Emission Factor Data

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journal contribution
posted on 15.11.2004, 00:00 by H. Christopher Frey, Yuchao Zhao
Probabilistic emission inventories were developed for urban air toxic emissions of benzene, formaldehyde, chromium, and arsenic for the example of Houston. Variability and uncertainty in emission factors were quantified for 71−97% of total emissions, depending upon the pollutant and data availability. Parametric distributions for interunit variability were fit using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), and uncertainty in mean emission factors was estimated using parametric bootstrap simulation. For data sets containing one or more nondetected values, empirical bootstrap simulation was used to randomly sample detection limits for nondetected values and observations for sample values, and parametric distributions for variability were fit using MLE estimators for censored data. The goodness-of-fit for censored data was evaluated by comparison of cumulative distributions of bootstrap confidence intervals and empirical data. The emission inventory 95% uncertainty ranges are as small as −25% to +42% for chromium to as large as −75% to +224% for arsenic with correlated surrogates. Uncertainty was dominated by only a few source categories. Recommendations are made for future improvements to the analysis.