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Journal Article

The model-data fusion pitfall: assuming certainty in an uncertain world


Reichstein,  M.
Research Group Biogeochemical Model-data Integration, Dr. M. Reichstein, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Keenan, T. F., Carbone, M. S., Reichstein, M., & Richardson, A. D. (2011). The model-data fusion pitfall: assuming certainty in an uncertain world. Oecologia, 167(3), 587-597. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2106-x.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-DBE1-C
Model-data fusion is a powerful framework by which to combine models with various data streams (including observations at different spatial or temporal scales), and account for associated uncertainties. The approach can be used to constrain estimates of model states, rate constants, and driver sensitivities. The number of applications of model-data fusion in environmental biology and ecology has been rising steadily, offering insights into both model and data strengths and limitations. For reliable model-data fusion-based results, however, the approach taken must fully account for both model and data uncertainties in a statistically rigorous and transparent manner. Here we review and outline the cornerstones of a rigorous model-data fusion approach, highlighting the importance of properly accounting for uncertainty. We conclude by suggesting a code of best practices, which should serve to guide future efforts.