Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Uncertainty

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_41

Synonyms

Incertitude; Insecurity

Definition

Uncertainty encompasses all factors of the lack of knowledge towards the exact probability, the timing, magnitude and potential frequency of return of a natural hazard event.

Discussion

Uncertainty extends to the imprecise knowledge of the risk, that is, the precise knowledge of vulnerabilities at any given time of a hazardous event. Uncertainty comprises all unknown inaccuracies. The term is not unanimously defined but it certainly comprises a larger concept than error, the statistical expression for known inaccuracies. Natural hazards are complex phenomena that cannot be forecasted precisely. Allegedly one of the most descriptive manners to describe the risk types attached to natural hazards, including uncertainty aspects, was developed by the German Advisory Council on Global Change – WBGU (2000). WBGU risk types are based on prominent figures from the Greek mythology, and most natural hazards fall into the “cyclope” type risks. Cyclopes...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Bibliography

  1. Bostrom, A., French, S., and Gottlieb, S. (eds.), 2008. Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support. Heidelberg: Berlin.Google Scholar
  2. German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), 2000. World in Transition: Strategies for managing global environmental risks.Google Scholar
  3. Hoffman, F. O., and Hammonds, J. S., 1994. Propagation of uncertainty in risk assessments: the need to distinguish between uncertainty due to lack of knowledge and uncertainty due to variability. Risk Analysis, 14(5), 707–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. MacEachren, A. M., Robinson, A., Hopper, S., Gardner, S., Murray, R., Gahegan, M., and Hetzler, E., 2005. Visualizing geospatial information uncertainty: what we know and what we need to know. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 32, 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Pang, A., 2008. Visualizing uncertainty in natural hazards. Risk Assessment, Modeling and Decision Support, Berlin: Heidelberg, pp 261–294.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of Finland (GTK)EspooFinland