Crystal Ball Industry Examples

Environmental Research


Crystal Ball is for anyone who uses spreadsheets and needs to forecast uncertain results. Environmental geologists, cost engineers, environmental scientists, hydrogeologists and project managers all rely on Crystal Ball.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency relies on Crystal Ball to manage environmental risk and make more informed business and strategic decisions. Crystal Ball is the tool chosen by more than 85% of the Fortune 500 companies. Like in the United States, Crystal Ball is the most popular choice in Australia and New Zealand to help improve spreadsheet modelling and risk analysis.

"In contrast to deterministic techniques, probabilistic risk assessments more fully consider ranges of values regarding potential exposure, and then weight possible values by their probability of occurrence. Without Crystal Ball, we would not have been able to do our required risk assessment. It was really the crucial tool for the job." - Scientific Advisory Panel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In your environmental work:

  • How do you assess risk when direct measurements of contaminants are impractical?

  • How do you quantify the levels of contamination when they are below the limits of detection?

  • How do you address the reliability of your mathematical results when key variables are bounded by large confidence intervals?

  • How do you communicate the certainty of your estimates and schedules to your clients and managers?

More often than not, subjective best estimate values contain uncertainty. Crystal Ball software provides a tool for you to encompass the uncertainty surrounding dose, exposure and risk levels.

"Within 5 minutes of opening the box, I was successfully running Monte Carlo Simulations -- Great user interface." - Alan Barta, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Crystal Ball is a Microsoft Excel-based suite of analytical tools that includes Monte Carlo simulation, optimisation and forecasting. With little effort, you can apply these advanced analytical techniques to your new or existing spreadsheets to create more accurate cost and schedule predictions and better informed financial decisions.

While not yet mandated by government regulations, quantitative risk analysis is an increasingly preferred method of assessing contamination risk, especially in cases where there is an absence of site-specific data. Monte Carlo simulation is a long established method for defining the uncertain components in a mathematical model and for providing an estimate of uncertainty for your analysis of risk.

"Without Crystal Ball, we would not have been able to do our required risk assessment. It was really the crucial tool for the job." - Miles Constable, Senior Toxic Substances Officer, Environment Canada.

Key features of interest to your industry include sensitivity and tornado analysis, correlation and historical data fitting. The sensitivity analysis and tornado analysis are two separate methods that help you to understand which of the uncertain inputs drive the uncertainty in your models. Correlation lets you link uncertain inputs and account for their positive or negative dependencies. If historical data does exist, the data fitting feature will compare the data to the distribution algorithms and calculate the best possible fit and parameters for your data.

Case Study - Nuclear Waste Clean Up


Crystal Ball is used in one of the world's largest environmental cleanup projects at the Hanford Site in the United States. The Hanford Site is located in southeastern Washington State and is one of the original Manhattan Project nuclear production facilities. The Hanford Site included a plutonium production complex with nine nuclear reactors and associated processing facilities

In May 1989, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington State Department of Ecology signed a landmark agreement, commonly known as the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA). The TPA outlines legally enforceable milestones for Hanford cleanup over the next several decades. 

As part of its environmental remediation program at the Hanford Site, the U.S. Department of Energy needed a method to estimate ground contaminant source term inventories and uncertainties. To address this need, a stochastic model, the Hanford Soil Inventory Model, was created to provide inventories and uncertainties for 75 analytes to 377 different locations encompassing 57 years of operations using historical production and surveillance data. Crystal Ball software is the foundation on which the Hanford Soil Inventory Model was built.