Science Inventory

Uncertainty Propagation in an Ecosystem Nutrient Budget.

Citation:

LEHRTER, J. C. AND J. CEBRIAN. Uncertainty Propagation in an Ecosystem Nutrient Budget. ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS. Ecological Society of America, Ithaca, NY, 20(2):508-524, (2010).

Impact/Purpose:

The methods developed here in this article provide a framework to propagate and assess the contributions of uncertainty in directly measured and literature estimated variables to calculated variables, as they are applied to complex models of ecosystems.

Description:

New aspects and advancements in classical uncertainty propagation methods were used to develop a nutrient budget with associated error for a northern Gulf of Mexico coastal embayment. Uncertainty was calculated for budget terms by propagating the standard error and degrees of freedom. New aspects include the incorporation of Monte Carlo simulations in the estimation of the uncertainty budget, uncertainty analysis for GIS computations, and uncertainty propagation involving literature and subjective estimates. The methods employed are broadly applicable to the mathematical operations employed in ecological studies involving step by step calculations, scaling procedures, and calculations of variables from direct measurements and/or literature estimates. Propagation of the standard error and the degrees of freedom allowed for calculation of the uncertainty intervals (i.e. confidence intervals) around every term in the budget. For scientists and environmental managers, the methods developed herein provide a framework to propagate and assess the contributions of uncertainty in directly measured and literature estimated variables to calculated variables. Application of these methods to environmental data used in scientific reporting and environmental management will improve the interpretation of data and the simplify the estimation of risk associated with decisions based on data.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 03/01/2010
Record Last Revised: 03/25/2013
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 202545

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

GULF ECOLOGY DIVISION

ECOSYSTEM DYNAMICS AND EFFECTS BRANCH