Bayesian Networks in Environmental Modelling

Environmental Modelling & SoftwareEnvironmental Modelling & Software, Available online 02 July 2011

P.A. Aguilera, A. Fernández, R. Fernández, R. Rumí, and A. Salmerón


  • We review papers in which Bayesian networks have been applied in environmental modelling.
  • The potential of Bayesian networks is still unexploited in the environmental science field.
  • Some recommendations for future works on this topic are proposed.

“Bayesian networks (BNs), also known as Bayesian belief networks or Bayes nets, are a kind of probabilistic graphical model that has become very popular to practitioners mainly due to the powerful probability theory involved, which makes them able to deal with a wide range of problems. The goal of this review is to show how BNs are being used in environmental modelling. We are interested in the application of BNs, from January 1990 to December 2010, in the areas of the ISI Web of Knowledge related to Environmental Sciences. It is noted that only the 4.2% of the papers have been published under this item. The different steps that configure modelling via BNs have been revised: aim of the model, data pre-processing, model learning, validation and software. Our literature review indicates that BNs have barely been used for Environmental Science and their potential is, as yet, largely unexploited.”