Uncertainty assessment of complex models with application to aviation environmental policy-making Academic Article uri icon


  • Numerical simulation models that support decision-making and policy-making processes are often complex and involve many disciplines. These models typically have many factors of different character, such as operational, design-based, technological, and economics-based. Such factors generally contain uncertainty, which leads to uncertainty in model outputs. For such models, it is critical to both the application of model results and the future development of the model that a formal approach to the assessment of uncertainty in the model be established and carried out. In this paper, a comprehensive approach to the uncertainty assessment of complex models intended to support decision-making and policy-making processes is presented. The approach consists of seven steps, which are establishing assessment goals, documenting assumptions and limitations, documenting model factors and outputs, classifying and characterizing factor uncertainty, conducting uncertainty analysis, conducting sensitivity analysis, and presenting results. Highlights of the approach are demonstrated on a real-world model intended to estimate the impacts of aviation on climate change. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

author list (cited authors)

  • Allaire, D., & Willcox, K.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • July 2014