Evaluating Probability Measures Related to Subsurface Flow and Transport: Overview of Technical Considerations and Modeling Philosophy

by Jeffrey D. Cawlfield, Univ of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Symposium on Ground Water


Probabilistic modeling approaches are being used increasingly in order to carry out quantified risk analysis and to evaluate the uncertainty existing in subsurface flow and transport analyses. The work presented here addresses three issues: comparison of common probabilistic modeling techniques, recent results regarding the sensitivity of probability measures to likely changes in the uncertain variables for transport in porous media, and a discussion of some questions regarding fundamental modeling philosophy within a probabilistic framework. Recent results indicate that uncertainty regarding average flow velocity controls the probabilistic outcome, while uncertainty in the dispersivity and diffusion coefficient does not seem very important. Uncertainty of reaction terms is important only at early times in the transport process. Questions are posed regarding (1) the inclusion of macrodispersion in a probabilistic analysis, (2) statistics of flow velocity and (3) the notion of an ultimate probability measure for subsurface flow analyses.

Subject Headings: Probability | Subsurface flow | Flow measurement | Groundwater pollution | Water pollution | Mathematical models | Uncertainty principles

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