Bayesian approach to quantify parameter uncertainty and impacts on predictive flow and mass transport in heterogeneous aquifer

  • J. Liang
  • G. M. Zeng
  • S. Shen
  • S. L. Guo
  • X. D. Li
  • Y. Tan
  • Z. W. Li
  • J. B. Li
Original Paper

Abstract

Groundwater flow and mass transport predictions are subjected to uncertainty due to heterogeneity of hydraulic conductivity, whose variability in space is considerably higher than that of other hydraulic properties relevant to groundwater flow. To characterize the distribution of hydraulic conductivity, random space function (RSF) is often used. The Bayesian approach was applied to quantitatively study the effect of parameter uncertainty in RSF on a hypothetical two-dimensional uniform groundwater flow and mass transport. Specifically, the parameter uncertainty transmitted to macrodispersion in mass transport model was also inferred. The results showed that the posterior probability distributions of parameters were updated after Bayesian inference. The numerical experiments indicated that the overall predictive uncertainty was increased with simulating time along the flow direction. As to the relative contribution of the two types of uncertainty, it indicated that parametric uncertainty was a little more important than stochastic uncertainty for the predictive uncertainty of hydraulic head. When the uncertainty of hydraulic head as well as macrodispersion was transported to mass transport model, a much bigger contribution of stochastic uncertainty was observed. Therefore, parametric uncertainty should not be neglected during the process of subsurface simulation.

Keywords

Groundwater Heterogeneous Bayesian approach Uncertainty Hydraulic conductivity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51009063, 51039001, 50978088, 50808071) and the Scientific Research Project for the Three Gorges’ Environmental Protection (SX 2010-026).

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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. M. Zeng
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Shen
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. L. Guo
    • 1
    • 3
  • X. D. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. Tan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Z. W. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. B. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and EngineeringHunan UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Environmental Biology and Pollution Control (Hunan University)Ministry of EducationChangshaChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhanChina

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