Beven (2021) Observational and Model Uncertainties

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Beven, K. J., 2021, An epistemically uncertain walk through the rather fuzzy field of observational and model uncertainties, Hydrological Processes, 35(1), e14012, doi: 10.1002/hyp.14012


A discussion of the history of considering aleatory and epistemic uncertainties in the practice of hydrological modelling. Concludes that there is no doubt that in hydrology we need to improve observational techniques, even for basic variables such as the precipitation inputs over a catchment (and particularly for snow and in hilly terrain). A degree of progress would certainly be possible by making existing technologies cheaper and more pervasive, but we should also aim to develop new methods, which means persuading funders that such methods would be useful, either scientifically in throwing more light on hydrological processes, or practically in improving model simulations and reducing uncertainties that feed into decision making. For that case to be convincing some quantification of the value of different observables will be necessary. In that quantification is necessarily model dependent, developing an accepted protocol might not be easy, but the final message from this brief history of walking with uncertainty is that if we do not start now then we will be waiting for another decade and probably longer.


Epistemic uncertainties


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