Identification and classification of uncertainties in the application of environmental models

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In the support of environmental management, models are frequently used. The outcomes of these models however, rarely show a perfect resemblance to the real-world system behavior. This is due to uncertainties, introduced during the process of abstracting information about the system to include it in the model. To provide decision makers with realistic information about these model outcomes, uncertainty analysis is indispensable. Because of the multiplicity of frameworks available for uncertainty analysis, the outcomes of such analyses are rarely comparable. In this paper a method for structured identification and classification of uncertainties in the application of environmental models is presented. We adapted an existing uncertainty framework to enhance the objectivity in the uncertainty identification process. Two case studies demonstrate how it can help to obtain an overview of unique uncertainties encountered in a model. The presented method improves the comparability of uncertainty analyses in different model studies and leads to a coherent overview of uncertainties affecting model outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1518-1527
JournalEnvironmental modelling & software
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Uncertainty classification
  • Uncertainty identification
  • Uncertainty Analysis
  • Water management
  • IR-73547
  • Hydraulic modeling
  • METIS-257514
  • Fuzzy set modeling
  • Rhine
  • Meuse

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