Challenges and Future Outlook of Sensitivity Analysis

H. Gupta, S. Razavi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

17 Scopus citations


As Earth and Environmental System models have rapidly become more complex and computationally intensive, growing in parameter dimensionality as they reflect our growing understanding about the nature and functioning of the world, the need for robust, informative, and computationally efficient sensitivity analysis techniques and tools has become ever more pressing. To date, a variety of different approaches to sensitivity analysis have been proposed in the literature, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, their application is typically inhibited by computational expense and their usefulness is limited by the inability to extract useful diagnostic information from the model response. This chapter reviews and contrasts some of the major strategies for sensitivity analysis that have been proposed and discusses several challenges that need critical attention. Perhaps the most important of these is to establish a clear definition of how to "compactly" characterize the sensitivity of a model response to perturbations in its causal factors in such a manner that the "diagnostic" information provided by the analysis is maximized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSensitivity Analysis in Earth Observation Modelling
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780128030318
ISBN (Print)9780128030110
StatePublished - 2017


  • Algorithm stability
  • Analysis of cumulative distributions
  • Analysis of variance
  • Challenges
  • Computational efficiency
  • Confidence intervals
  • Convergence
  • Criterion
  • Diagnostic information
  • Distribution of derivatives
  • Earth and environmental system models
  • Future outlook
  • Informativeness
  • Interaction effect
  • Main effect
  • Model response
  • Morris
  • Multi-scale dependency
  • One-dimensional cross sections
  • Performance metric
  • Robustness
  • Sensitivity analysis strategies and techniques
  • Sobol'
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Variogram analysis of response surfaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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