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Uncertainty analysis in a GIS-based multi-criteria analysis tool for river catchment management

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hongyan Chen


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The importance of uncertainty analysis has been increasingly recognised, due to the influence of uncertainties in data, models and expert judgements. However, the successful integration of uncertainty analysis into multi-criteria analysis (MCA) has rarely been achieved. This paper analyses uncertainty sources in MCA. General methods of uncertainty analysis in MCA are reviewed, including probabilistic methods, indicator-based methods and fuzzy logic. Building on this review, an uncertainty analysis module developed for use within a GIS-based MCA tool for catchment management is presented. In this module, the influence of uncertainties on decision-making can be visually explored using an indicator-based method. The indicator-based method provides a pragmatic approach to communicating areas of uncertainty to decision-makers without assuming any prior knowledge of uncertainty analysis techniques. This enables uncertainty analysis to be more effectively operationalised within the decision-making process. An application example in the Tamar catchment, southwest UK, is used to illustrate the capability of the uncertainty analysis module when applied in a decision-making context.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chen H, Wood MD, Linstead C, Maltby E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Modelling and Software

Year: 2011

Volume: 26

Issue: 4

Pages: 395-405

Print publication date: 01/04/2011

Online publication date: 03/11/2010

ISSN (print): 1364-8152

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6726

Publisher: Pergamon Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2010.09.005


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