Imprecise probabilistic evaluation of sewer flooding in urban drainage systems using random set theory
Water Resources Research
American Geophysical Union
Uncertainty analysis is widely applied in water system modeling to quantify prediction uncertainty from models and data. Conventional methods typically handle various kinds of uncertainty using a single characterizing approach, be it probability theory or fuzzy set theory. However, using a single approach may not be appropriate, particularly when uncertainties are of different types. For example, in sewer flood estimation problems, random rainfall variables are used as model inputs and imprecise or subjective information is used to define model parameters. This paper presents a general framework for sewer flood estimation that enables simultaneous consideration of two types of uncertainty: randomness from rainfall data represented using imprecise probabilities and imprecision from model parameters represented by fuzzy numbers. These two types of uncertainties are combined using random set theory and then propagated through a hydrodynamic urban drainage model. Two propagation methods, i.e., discretization and Monte Carlo based methods, are presented and compared, with the latter shown to be much more computationally efficient and hence recommended for high-dimensional problems. The model output (flood depth) is generated in the form of lower and upper cumulative probabilities, which are best estimates given the various stochastic and epistemic uncertainties considered and which embrace the unknown true cumulative probability. The distance between the cumulative probabilities represents the extent of imprecise, incomplete, or conflicting information and can be reduced only when more knowledge is available. The proposed methodology has a more complete and thus more accurate representation of uncertainty in data and models and can effectively handle different uncertainty characterizations in a single, integrated framework for sewer flood estimation.
Copyright © 2011 American Geophysical Union
Vol. 47, article W02534