This paper introduces the Water Resources Research special section on Uncertainty Assessment in Surface and Subsurface Hydrology. Over the past years, hydrological literature has seen a large increase in the number of papers dealing with uncertainty. In this article, we present an overview of the different sources of uncertainty and the different types of problems associated with uncertainty assessment. It is argued here that clarity about which part of the large field of uncertainty research is addressed by a given research activity would already help guide discussions within the hydrological community. We present an introduction to the differences between the more classical frequentist approach to uncertainty and Bayesian approaches and between probabilistic and nonprobabilistic approaches. Bayesian approaches allow for inclusion of more subjective expert knowledge and would be more appropriate where less "hard" data are available. Any underlying assumptions need to be made very clear to the end user. Finally, a brief classification of the articles of the special section is presented.