A Preliminary Evaluation of Model Uncertainty Given Parameter Sensitivity for Select Transport Codes

by Zhenquan Chen, Oklahoma State Univ, Stillwater, United States,
William F. McTernan, Oklahoma State Univ, Stillwater, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Symposium on Ground Water


The ever-increasing use of mathematical models in groundwater management has raised concerns as to uncertainties associated with their abilities to simulate real-world pollution problems. Two types of uncertainties may impact the simulation process: those associated with model selection and those related to parameter identification. Model uncertainty results from improper description of the transport mechanisms, or by applying the model to situations unwarranted by its formulation. Parameter uncertainty occurs when inaccurate or improper input values are used. Uncertainty analysis has become a major research topic in recent years and a considerable amount of work has been published. While most research work has focused on parameter uncertainty, model uncertainty has attracted less attention. This paper attempts to make a preliminary assessment in this area in relation to parameter uncertainty. The focus of this uncertainty study was related to the adsorption process where equilibrium and nonequilibrium models were selected for evaluation. For parameter uncertainty, the effect of the retardation factor R and the overall mass transfer coefficient were investigated. The importance of these parameters on transport has been discussed in detail by Chen and McTernan (1991).

Subject Headings: Hydrologic models | Uncertainty principles | Parameters (statistics) | Sensitivity analysis | Standards and codes | Mathematical models | Water pollution | Simulation models

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