Uncertainty and Risk Analysis in Hydrological Models for Land- use Management

Kim E. Lowell 1,2 and Kurt K. Benke 1
1, 2 Primary Industries Research Victoria
621 Burwood Highway, Knoxfield, Private Bag 15, Ferntree Gully DC, Victoria 3156 AUSTRALIA 
Tel: +61 3 9210 9205, Fax: +61 3 9800 3521 
Kim.Lowell@dpi.vic.gov.au; Kurt.Benke@dpi.vic.gov.au
1 CRC for Spatial Information, University of Melbourne
723 Swanston St., Ground floor, Carlton, VIC 3052 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 3 8344 9192

The characterisation of uncertainty and risk analysis are two research domains that have many common elements. Specifically, they  are both based on an acknowledgment that decisions are never made using perfect knowledge and therefore always have some degree of associated risk or uncertainty. Research in uncertainty addresses this by seeking to understand the causes of uncertainty, and to quantify the magnitude of uncertainty associated with limited information. Risk analysis is more focussed upon making decisions in the face of uncertainty. In this paper, areas of overlap between uncertainty research and risk analysis are presented and discussed in the context of hydrological models. A number of  fundamental terms in uncertainty and risk are defined, and ways of presenting uncertainty related to risk analysis are described.

Keywords: epistemic uncertainty, linguistic uncertainty, hydrology, models, risk analysis

In: Caetano, M. and Painho, M. (eds). Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, 5 – 7 July 2006, Lisboa, Instituto Geográfico Português

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