Title page for ETD etd-11112008-131942


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Li, Xiaobao
Author's Email Address xli11@lsu.edu
URN etd-11112008-131942
Title Bayesian Model Averaging on Hydraulic Conductivity Estimation and Groundwater Head Prediction
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Civil & Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Frank T.C. Tsai Committee Chair
Christopher D. White Committee Member
Clinton S. Willson Committee Member
John H. Pardue Committee Member
Irving Mendelssohn Dean's Representative
Keywords
  • Groundwater Modeling
  • KIC
  • BIC
  • Bayesian Model Averaging
Date of Defense 2008-09-24
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Characterization of aquifer heterogeneity is inherently difficult because of the insufficiency of data, the inflexibility of parameterization methods, and non-uniqueness of parameterization methods. Groundwater predictions are greatly affected by multiple interpretations of aquifer properties and the uncertainties of model parameters. This study introduces a Bayesian model averaging (BMA) method along with multiple generalized parameterization (GP) methods to identify hydraulic conductivity and along with multiple simulation models to predict groundwater head and quantify the prediction uncertainty. Two major issues about BMA are discussed. The first problem is with using Occam’s window in usual BMA applications. Occam’s window only accepts models in a very narrow range, tending to single out the best method and discard other good methods. A variance window is proposed to replace Occam’s window to cope with this problem. The second problem is with using the Kashyap information criterion (KIC) in the approximation of posterior model probabilities, which tends to prefer highly uncertain model by considering the Fisher information matrix. The Bayesian information criterion (BIC) is recommended because it is able to avoid controversial results and it is computationally efficient.

Numerical examples are designed to test the Bayesian model averaging method on hydraulic conductivity identification and groundwater head prediction. The proposed methodologies are then applied to the hydraulic conductivity identification of the Alamitos Gap area, and the hydraulic conductivity estimation and groundwater head prediction of the “1,500-foot” sand in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. The results show that the GP method provides great flexibility in parameterization with small conditional variance. The use of the variance window is necessary to avoid a dominant model when many models perform equally well. Compared to KIC, BIC is able to give an unbiased posterior model probability. It is also concluded that the uncertainty increases by including multiple models under the BMA framework, but risks are reduced by avoiding overconfidence in the solution from one model.

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