Multi-method global sensitivity analysis of flood inundation models

Florian Pappenberger*, Keith J. Beven, Marco Ratto, Patrick Matgen

*Corresponding author for this work

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

212 Citations (Scopus)


Global sensitivity analysis is a valuable tool in understanding flood inundation models and deriving decisions on strategies to reduce model uncertainty. In this paper, a sensitivity analysis of a one-dimensional flood inundation model (HEC-RAS) on the River Alzette, Luxembourg, is presented. It is impossible to define sensitivity in a unique way and different methods can lead to a difference in ranking of importance of model factors. In this paper five different methods (Sobol, Kullback-Leibler entropy, Morris, regionalised sensitivity analysis and regression) are applied and the outcomes on selected examples compared. It is demonstrated that the different methods lead to completely different ranking of importance of the parameter factors and that it is impossible to draw firm conclusions about the relative sensitivity of different factors. Moreover, the uncertainty inherent in the sensitivity methods is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Decision support
  • Flood modelling
  • Flood risk
  • Global sensitivity analysis
  • Inundation model
  • Uncertainty


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