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Two-dimensional advective transport in ground-water flow parameter estimation

January 1, 1996

Nonlinear regression is useful in ground-water flow parameter estimation, but problems of parameter insensitivity and correlation often exist given commonly available hydraulic-head and head-dependent flow (for example, stream and lake gain or loss) observations. To address this problem, advective-transport observations are added to the ground-water flow, parameter-estimation model MODFLOWP using particle-tracking methods. The resulting model is used to investigate the importance of advective-transport observations relative to head-dependent flow observations when either or both are used in conjunction with hydraulic-head observations in a simulation of the sewage-discharge plume at Otis Air Force Base, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. The analysis procedure for evaluating the probable effect of new observations on the regression results consists of two steps: (1) parameter sensitivities and correlations calculated at initial parameter values are used to assess the model parameterization and expected relative contributions of different types of observations to the regression; and (2) optimal parameter values are estimated by nonlinear regression and evaluated. In the Cape Cod parameter-estimation model, advective-transport observations did not significantly increase the overall parameter sensitivity; however: (1) inclusion of advective-transport observations decreased parameter correlation enough for more unique parameter values to be estimated by the regression; (2) realistic uncertainties in advective-transport observations had a small effect on parameter estimates relative to the precision with which the parameters were estimated; and (3) the regression results and sensitivity analysis provided insight into the dynamics of the ground-water flow system, especially the importance of accurate boundary conditions. In this work, advective-transport observations improved the calibration of the model and the estimation of ground-water flow parameters, and use of regression and related techniques produced significant insight into the physical system.

Publication Year 1996
Title Two-dimensional advective transport in ground-water flow parameter estimation
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1996.tb02165.x
Authors E.R. Anderman, M. C. Hill, E. P. Poeter
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ground Water
Index ID 70018199
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Ground Water; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program