Title: Using statistical and interval-based approaches to propagate snow measurement uncertainty to structural reliability

Authors: Árpád Rózsás; Miroslav Sýkora

Addresses: TNO Building and Construction Research, PO Box 155, 2600 AD Delft, the Netherlands ' Department of Structural Reliability, Klokner Institute, Czech Technical University of Prague, Prague 16608, Czech Republic

Abstract: Observations are inevitably contaminated with measurement uncertainty, which is a predominant source of uncertainty in some cases. In present practice probabilistic models are typically fitted to measurements without proper consideration of this uncertainty. Hence, this study explores the effect of this simplification on structural reliability and provides recommendations on its appropriate treatment. Statistical and interval-based approaches are used to quantify and propagate measurement uncertainty in probabilistic reliability analysis. The two approaches are critically compared by analysing ground snow measurements that are often affected by large measurement uncertainty. The results indicate that measurement uncertainty may lead to significant (order of magnitude) underestimation of failure probability and should be taken into account in reliability analysis. Ranges of the key parameters are identified where measurement uncertainty should be considered. For practical applications, the lower interval bound and predictive reliability index are recommended as point estimates using interval and statistical analysis, respectively. The point estimates should be accompanied by uncertainty intervals, which convey valuable information about the credibility of results.

Keywords: measurement uncertainty; snow; structural reliability; interval arithmetic; maximum likelihood; deconvolution.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRS.2018.092503

International Journal of Reliability and Safety, 2018 Vol.12 No.1/2, pp.46 - 68

Received: 02 Mar 2017
Accepted: 15 Nov 2017

Published online: 13 Jun 2018 *

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