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Global sensitivity analysis in environmental water quality modelling: Where do we stand?

  • Authors: Mannina, G.; Cosenza, A.; Randrianantoandro, M.; Anctil, F.; Neumann, M.; Vanrolleghempa,
  • Publication year: 2014
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • OA Link:


Global sensitivity analysis (GSA) is a valuable tool to support the use of mathematical models for environmental systems. During the last years the water quality modelling field has embraced the use of GSA. Environmental water quality modellers have tried to transfer the knowledge and experience acquired in other disciplines. The main objective of this paper is to provide an informed problem statement of the issues surrounding GSA applications in the environmental water quality modelling field. Specifically, this paper aims at identifying, for each GSA method, the potential use, the critical issues to be solved and the limits identified in a comprehensive literature review. The paper shows that the GSA methods are not mostly applied by using the numerical settings as suggested in the literature for other application fields. However, some authors have emphasized that the modeller must take care in employing such “default” numerical settings because,for complex water quality models, different GSA methods have been shown to provide different results depending on the settings. Quantitative convergence analysis has been identified as a key element for GSA quality control that merits further investigations for GSA application in the environmental water quality modelling field.