Probabilistic inference coupled with possibilistic reasoning for robust estimation of hydrologic parameters and piecewise characterization of interactive uncertainties

Shuo Wang, G. H. Huang, B. W. Baetz, W. Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a factorial possibilistic-probabilistic inference (FPI) framework for estimation of hydrologic parameters and characterization of interactive uncertainties. FPI is capable of incorporating expert knowledge into the parameter adjustment procedure for enhancing the understanding of the nature of the calibration problem. As a component of the FPI framework, a Monte Carlo-based fractional fuzzy-factorial analysis (MFA) method is also proposed to identify the best parameter set and its underlying probability distributions in a fuzzy probability space. Factorial analysis of variance (ANOVA) coupled with its multivariate extensions are performed to explore potential interactions among model parameters and among hydrological metrics in a systematic manner. The proposed methodology is applied to the Xiangxi River watershed by using the conceptual hydrological model (HYMOD) to demonstrate its validity and applicability. Results reveal that MFA is capable of deriving probability density functions (PDFs) of hydrologic model parameters. Moreover, the sequential inferences derived from the F test and its multivariate approximations disclose the statistical significance of parametric interactions affecting individual and multiple hydrological metrics, respectively. The findings presented here indicate that parametric interactions are complex in a fuzzy stochastic environment, and the magnitude and direction of interaction effects vary in different regions of the parameter space as well as vary temporally because of the dynamic behavior of hydrologic systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1260
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrologic models
  • Mathematical and statistical techniques
  • Models and modeling
  • Optimization
  • Parameterization
  • Statistical techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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