Project Description

Fellow: ESR9 - Vivian Camacho Host institution: University of Sheffield Duration: 36 months Planned start date: November 2014
Actual start date: January 2015
Project title: Quantification of uncertainties associated with fluvial pollutant transport (WP4, WP6)
Supervisor name: Dr James Shucksmith, Dr Alma Schellart & Prof. David Lerner PhD enrolment: Y


  • Quantify and compare uncertainties in model inputs, calibration, and model structure uncertainty for available datasets, water quality parameters and surface water quality models.
  • Elucidate the relationship between the sources of uncertainty in surface water quality modelling by the comparison of observed and predicted water quality variables for models of varying complexity.
  • Determine the relationship between output uncertainty of surface water quality models and model complexity, data and calibration requirements and hence draw specific conclusions regarding data and model requirements to achieve given level of certainty in surface water quality model outputs.
Tasks and methodology: Collect and examine surface water quality datasets from test catchments. Calibrate and validate modelling approaches. Optimise models for given pollution events, to elucidate the distribution of input parameters and assess and rank model structure uncertainty arising from assumptions within modelling approaches. Assess model input uncertainty based on input parameter distributions and compare to published parameter estimation methods. Determine data and model requirements to achieve given levels of certainty in model outputs.
Results: Toolkit to advise on the appropriate surface water quality model to use within an integrated catchment model based on the availability of data and given site characteristics (D4.7). Guidance on the appropriate level of data and model type for given desired level of certainty in model outputs (D6.6). Journal publications on performance of quality models varying data input resolutions and application of uncertainty frameworks to surface water quality modelling.
Dissemination: 3 Journal Papers on uncertainty in surface water quality, blog and social media. Two presentation/year as MC Ambassador, annual conference presentation.
Planned secondments: To JLU (3 months), quantify river modelling uncertainties due to rural hydrological processes, to CH2MHill-Halcrow, (3 months) model structure uncertainties associated with linking 2D overland process and 1D river model.