Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication


After a decade of fruitful use and further methodological development, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency publishes the second edition of its Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication. The first edition was published by PBL’s predecessor, RIVM/MNP, in 2003. Without adequate attention for the implications of uncertainty, there is a risk of compromising the credibility of assessment studies. The Guidance is intended as an instrument to guide analysts, in order for them to reach thorough conclusions that reflect the underlying uncertainties and provide maximum transparency.

This Guidance addresses the many aspects of uncertainty assessment and communication. After identifying the most critical uncertainties, it provides information on how to manage the choices related to these issues. Analysts are encouraged to reflect on the choices that need to be made during all assessment phases. This will lead to a better foundation for these choices and, hence, to an improved management of uncertainties.
The Guidance focuses on the following important issues that have to be addressed when performing a study:

  1. How to frame the problem studied?
  2. Who to involve in studying the problem, and to which degree?
  3. How are central aspects of the problem indicated?
  4. Is the knowledge base sufficiently large?
  5. What are the relevant uncertainties?
  6. How to communicate uncertainty information?


Arthur C. Petersen, Peter H.M. Janssen, Jeroen P. van der Sluijs (Utrecht University), James S. Risbey (CSIRO), Jerome R. Ravetz (Oxford University), J. Arjan Wardekker (Health Council of the Netherlands), Hannah Martinson Hughes


Publication title
Guidance for Uncertainty Assessment and Communication
Publication date
17 December 2013
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