Mathematical Geosciences

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 545–581 | Cite as

Probability Aggregation Methods in Geoscience

  • D. Allard
  • A. Comunian
  • P. Renard


The need for combining different sources of information in a probabilistic framework is a frequent task in earth sciences. This is a need that can be seen when modeling a reservoir using direct geological observations, geophysics, remote sensing, training images, and more. The probability of occurrence of a certain lithofacies at a certain location for example can easily be computed conditionally on the values observed at each source of information. The problem of aggregating these different conditional probability distributions into a single conditional distribution arises as an approximation to the inaccessible genuine conditional probability given all information. This paper makes a formal review of most aggregation methods proposed so far in the literature with a particular focus on their mathematical properties. Exact relationships relating the different methods is emphasized. The case of events with more than two possible outcomes, never explicitly studied in the literature, is treated in detail. It is shown that in this case, equivalence between different aggregation formulas is lost. The concepts of calibration, sharpness, and reliability, well known in the weather forecasting community for assessing the goodness-of-fit of the aggregation formulas, and a maximum likelihood estimation of the aggregation parameters are introduced. We then prove that parameters of calibrated log-linear pooling formulas are a solution of the maximum likelihood estimation equations. These results are illustrated on simulations from two common stochastic models for earth science: the truncated Gaussian model and the Boolean. It is found that the log-linear pooling provides the best prediction while the linear pooling provides the worst.


Data integration Conditional probability pooling Calibration Sharpness Log-linear pooling 



Funding for A. Comunian and P. Renard was mainly provided by the Swiss National Science foundation (Grants PP002-106557 and PP002-124979) and the Swiss Confederation’s Innovation Promotion Agency (CTI Project No. 8836.1 PFES-ES) A. Comunian was partially supported by the Australian Research Council and the National Water Commission.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UR546 Biostatistique et Processus Spatiaux (BioSP)INRAAvignonFrance
  2. 2.Centre of Hydrogeology and Geothermics, CHYNUniversité de NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  3. 3.National Centre for Groundwater Research and TrainingUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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