Managing uncertainty in integrated environmental modelling: the UncertWeb framework

Lucy Bastin, Dan Cornford, Richard Jones, Gerard B.M. Heuvelink, Edzer Pebesma, Christoph Stasch, Stefano Nativi, Paolo Mazzetti, Matthew Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Web-based distributed modelling architectures are gaining increasing recognition as potentially useful tools to build holistic environmental models, combining individual components in complex workflows. However, existing web-based modelling frameworks currently offer no support for managing uncertainty. On the other hand, the rich array of modelling frameworks and simulation tools which support uncertainty propagation in complex and chained models typically lack the benefits of web based solutions such as ready publication, discoverability and easy access. In this article we describe the developments within the UncertWeb project which are designed to provide uncertainty support in the context of the proposed ‘Model Web’. We give an overview of uncertainty in modelling, review uncertainty management in existing modelling frameworks and consider the semantic and interoperability issues raised by integrated modelling. We describe the scope and architecture required to support uncertainty management as developed in UncertWeb. This includes tools which support elicitation, aggregation/disaggregation, visualisation and uncertainty/sensitivity analysis. We conclude by highlighting areas that require further research and development in UncertWeb, such as model calibration and inference within complex environmental models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-134
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Issue numberJanuary 2013
Early online date14 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Modelling and Software. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in astin, L, Cornford, D, Jones, R, Heuvelink, GBM, Pebesma, E, Stasch, C, Nativi, S, Mazzetti, P & Williams, M, 'Managing uncertainty in integrated environmental modelling: the UncertWeb framework' Environmental modelling and software, vol 39 (2013) DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2012.02.008


  • uncertainty
  • model web
  • UncertWeb
  • web services
  • uncertainty propagation
  • visualisation
  • interoperability


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