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Groundwater Flow Determination Using an Interval Parameter Perturbation Method

School of Resource and Earth Science, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
Department of Environmental Science, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, China
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2017, 9(12), 978;
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
PDF [1238 KB, uploaded 15 December 2017]


Groundwater flow simulation often inevitably involves uncertainty, which has been quantified by a host of methods including stochastic methods and statistical methods. Stochastic methods and statistical methods face great difficulties in applications. One of such difficulties is that the statistical characteristics of random variables (such as mean, variance, covariance, etc.) must be firstly obtained before the stochastic methods can be applied. The dilemma is that one is often unclear about such statistical characteristics, given the limited available data. To overcome the problems met by stochastic methods, this study provides an innovative approach in which the hydrogeological parameters and sources and sinks of groundwater flow are represented by bounded but uncertain intervals of variables called interval of uncertainty variables (IUVs) and this approach is namely the interval uncertain method (IUM). IUM requires only the maximum and minimum values of the variable. By utilizing the natural interval expansion, an interval-based parametric groundwater flow equation is established, and the solution of that equation can be found. Using a hypothetical steady-state flow case as an example, one can see that when the rate of change is less than 0.2, the relative error of this method is generally limited to less than 5%; when the rate of change is less than 0.3, the relative error of this method can be kept within 10%. This research shows that the proposed method has smaller relative errors and higher computational efficiency than the Monte Carlo methods. It is possible to use this method to analyze the uncertainties of groundwater flow when it is difficult to obtain the statistical characteristics of the hydrogeological systems. The proposed method is applicable in linear groundwater flow system. Its validity in nonlinear flow systems such as variably saturated flow or unconfined flow with considerable variation of water table will be checked in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater flow model; numerical simulation; uncertainty; IUV; IUM; perturbation method; Monte Carlo; GFModel groundwater flow model; numerical simulation; uncertainty; IUV; IUM; perturbation method; Monte Carlo; GFModel

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Dong, G.; Tian, J.; Zhan, H.; Liu, R. Groundwater Flow Determination Using an Interval Parameter Perturbation Method. Water 2017, 9, 978.

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