Applying new uncertainty related theories and multicriteria decision analysis methods to snow avalanche risk management

Abstract : Making the best decision in the event of a snow avalanche encounters problems in the assessment and management process because of the lack of information and knowledge on natural phenomena and the heterogeneity and reliability of the information sources available (historical data, field measurements, and expert assessments). One major goal today is therefore to aid decision making by improving the quality, quantity, and reliability of the available information. This article presents a new method called evidential reasoning and multicriteria decision analysis (ER-MCDA) to help decision making by considering information imperfections arising from several more or less reliable and possibly conflicting sources of information. First, the principles of the existing methods are reviewed. Classical methods of multicriteria decision making and existing theories attempting to represent and propagate information imperfections are described. In a second point, we describe the principle of the ER-MCDA method combining multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) to model the decision-making process and fuzzy sets theory, possibility theory, and evidence theory to represent, fuse and propagate information imperfections. Experts, considered more or less reliable, provide imprecise and uncertain evaluations of quantitative and qualitative criteria that are combined through information fusion. The method is applied to a simplified version of an existing system aiming to evaluate the sensitivity of avalanche sites. This new method makes it possible to consider both the importance of the information available and reliability in the decision process. It also contributes to improving traceability. Other developments designed to handle other assessment problems such as avalanche triggering conditions or data quality are in progress.
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  • IRSTEA : PUB00030660

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J.M. Tacnet, Mireille Batton-Hubert, J. Dezert, D. Richard. Applying new uncertainty related theories and multicriteria decision analysis methods to snow avalanche risk management. Internationational snow science workshop 2010 (ISSW), Oct 2010, Squaw Valley, United States. 8 p. ⟨hal-00558291⟩

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