Multi-Method Global Sensitivity Analysis (MMGSA) for modelling floodplain hydrological processes

Hannah L. Cloke*, F. Pappenberger, J. P. Renaud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


When studying hydrological processes with a numerical model, global sensitivity analysis (GSA) is essential if one is to understand the impact of model parameters and model formulation on results. However, different definitions of sensitivity can lead to a difference in the ranking of importance of the different model factors. Here we combine a fuzzy performance function with different methods of calculating global sensitivity to perform a multi-method global sensitivity analysis (MMGSA). We use an application of a finite element subsurface flow model (ESTEL-2D) on a flood inundation event on a floodplain of the River Severn to illustrate this new methodology. We demonstrate the utility of the method for model understanding and show how the prediction of state variables, such as Darcian velocity vectors, can be affected by such a MMGSA. This paper is a first attempt to use GSA with a numerically intensive hydrological model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1660-1674
Number of pages15
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2008


  • Darcian velocity
  • ESTEL-2D
  • Finite element
  • Floodplain hydrology
  • Fuzzy performance
  • Global sensitivity analysis
  • Hydrological processes
  • Sensitivity measures


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