Parameterization in Life Cycle Assessment inventory data: review of current use and the representation of uncertainty
 Joyce Smith Cooper,
 Michael Noon,
 Ezra Kahn
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Purpose
Parameterization refers to the practice of presenting Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data using raw data and formulas instead of computed numbers in unit process datasets within databases. This paper reviews parameterization methods in the European Reference Life Cycle Data System (ELCD), ecoinvent v3, and the US Department of Agriculture's Digital Commons with the intent of providing a basis for continued methodological and coding advances.
Methods
Parameterized data are reviewed and categorized with respect to the type (raw data and formulas) and what is being represented (e.g., consumption and emission rates and factors, physical or thermodynamic properties, process efficiencies, etc.). Parameterization of engineering relationships and uncertainty distributions using Smirnov transforms (a.k.a. inverse transform sampling), and ensuring uncertain individual fractions (e.g., market shares) sum to the total value of interest are presented.
Results
Seventeen categories of parameters (raw data and formulas) are identified. Thirteen ELCD unit process datasets use 975 parameters in 12 categories, with 124 as raw data points and 851 as formulas, and emission factors as the most common category of parameter. Five additional parameter categories are identified in the Digital Commons for the presentation and analysis of data with uncertainty information, through 146 parameters, of which 53 represent raw data and 93 are formulas with most being uncertainty parameters, percentages, and consumption parameters.
Conclusions
Parameterization is a powerful way to ensure transparency, usability, and transferability of LCI data. Its use is expected to increase in frequency, the categories of parameters used, and the types of computational methods employed.
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 Title
 Parameterization in Life Cycle Assessment inventory data: review of current use and the representation of uncertainty
 Journal

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Volume 17, Issue 6 , pp 689695
 Cover Date
 20120701
 DOI
 10.1007/s1136701204111
 Print ISSN
 09483349
 Online ISSN
 16147502
 Publisher
 SpringerVerlag
 Additional Links
 Topics
 Keywords

 Data
 Databases
 LCA
 Parameterization
 Uncertainty
 Industry Sectors
 Authors

 Joyce Smith Cooper ^{(1)}
 Michael Noon ^{(1)}
 Ezra Kahn ^{(1)}
 Author Affiliations

 1. Design for Environment Laboratory, University of Washington, Box 352700, Seattle, WA, 981952600, USA