Townley, L.R., and Wilson, J.L. (1985), Computationally-efficient algorithms for parameter estimation and uncertainty propagation in numerical models of groundwater flow, Water Resources Research, 21(12), 1851-1860.

Finite difference and finite element methods are frequently used to study aquifer flow; however, additional analysis is required when model parameters, and hence predicted heads are uncertain. Computational algorithms are presented for steady and transient models in which aquifer storage coefficients, transmissivities, distributed inputs, and boundary values may all be simultaneously uncertain. Innovative aspects of these algorithms include a new form of generalised boundary condition; a concise discrete derivation of the adjoint problem for transient models with variable time steps; an efficient technique for calculating the approximate second derivative during line searches in weighted least squares estimation; and a new efficient first-order second-moment algorithm for calculating the covariance of predicted heads due to a large number of uncertain parameter values. The techniques are presented in matrix form, and their efficiency depends on the structure of sparse matrices which occur repeatedly throughout the calculations. Details of matrix structures are provided for a two-dimensional linear triangular finite element model.


Copyright © 2005 by Lloyd Townley
Last revised: 6 May 2005