Modeling transient groundwater flow by coupling ensemble Kalman filtering and upscaling

Autores UPV
Revista Water Resources Research


The ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) is coupled with upscaling to build an aquifer model at a coarser scale than the scale at which the conditioning data (conductivity and piezometric head) had been taken for the purpose of inverse modeling. Building an aquifer model at the support scale of observations is most often impractical since this would imply numerical models with many millions of cells. If, in addition, an uncertainty analysis is required involving some kind of Monte Carlo approach, the task becomes impossible. For this reason, a methodology has been developed that will use the conductivity data at the scale at which they were collected to build a model at a (much) coarser scale suitable for the inverse modeling of groundwater flow and mass transport. It proceeds as follows: (1) Generate an ensemble of realizations of conductivities conditioned to the conductivity data at the same scale at which conductivities were collected. (2) Upscale each realization onto a coarse discretization; on these coarse realizations, conductivities will become tensorial in nature with arbitrary orientations of their principal components. (3) Apply the EnKF to the ensemble of coarse conductivity upscaled realizations in order to condition the realizations to the measured piezometric head data. The proposed approach addresses the problem of how to deal with tensorial parameters, at a coarse scale, in ensemble Kalman filtering while maintaining the conditioning to the fine-scale hydraulic conductivity measurements. We demonstrate our approach in the framework of a synthetic worth-of-data exercise, in which the relevance of conditioning to conductivities, piezometric heads, or both is analyzed. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.