Quantifying Uncertainty in Subsurface Systems, a new book just published by the American Geophysical Union, explores what we know and don’t know about the extent underground resources, and how we can make decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Although the book explores how uncertainty quantification can enable optimal decisions in the exploration, appraisal, and development of subsurface resources, it covers many data scientific methods that allow representing geological variability with simple statistical tools.
This article include few of the questions one of the editor of this book covers, one that is particular covered in this blog on uncertainty quantification is listed below.
What is “uncertainty quantification”?
In the broadest sense, it is a measure of our lack of understanding. This is difficult: it is easier to list what we know than what we don’t know. The quantification part points to a scientific approach to the problem that involves axioms, definitions and rules. Uncertainty quantification is both prescriptive and normative: a set of rules on how to proceed are created based on mathematics and logic, in particular, probability theory and statistics. Within those rules, calculations are done that involve observed data as well as global understanding of the subsurface system created from experience. Thus, it allows making optimal decisions even if we cannot perfectly predict the outcome of the actions we take in the exploration, appraisal and development of subsurface resources.
See the table of contents of the book here