Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky


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


Incertitude; Insecurity


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.


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...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

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