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Partial Order in Environmental Chemistry


Rainer Bruggemann* and Lars Carlsen   Pages 1 - 13 ( 13 )


Background: The theory of partial order is a branch of Discrete Mathematics and is often seen as pretty esoteric. However, depending on a suitable definition of an order relation, partial order theory has some statistical flavor. Here we introduce the application of partial order for environmental chemistry.

Objective: We showed that partial order is an instrument, which at the same time has both a data exploration - and evaluation potency.

Method: The partial order theory was applied in this study. It depends on four indicators which describe the environmental hazards of chemicals.

Results: Nineteen organic chemicals were found within a monitoring study in the German river Main and were taken as an exemplary case. The results indicated that chemicals can have a high risk on the environment, however, the type of risk is different and should not conceptually merged into a single quantity.

Conclusions: Partial order theory is of help to define different regulations and environmental management plans.


partial order, decision making, environmental chemicals, descriptors of chemicals behavior, indicators, process-oriented mathematical models, antichain matrix, graph-theoretical structure


Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Department: Ecohydrology, Berlin, Awareness Center, Linkøpingvej 35, Trekroner, DK-4000 Roskilde

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