J2.3 Meteorological Uncertainty and the Expert Witness

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 2:00 PM
Room 243 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Steven R. Hanna, Hanna Consultants, Kennebunkport, ME

This paper addresses some problems raised due to the fact that the expert witness is often asked to provide a yes-or-no answer in the face of uncertainties in meteorology and air pollution and other environmental variables. In many of these cases, the use of statistical analysis (e.g., 95 % confidence bounds) is appropriate but the results must be expressed in a way that may be understood by a lay-person. Examples of several scenarios are discussed, including: 1) Interpretation of model-predicted pollutant concentration contours; 2) Analysis of whether two meteorological observations are similar or different; 3) Assessing confidence in whether there was freezing rain (or lightning or other meteorological phenomena) at a specific time and place; 4) Estimating and interpreting error bounds (95 % confidence limits) on model predictions or other conclusions regarding meteorological or air pollution variables.
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