Multiobjective sampling design for parameter estimation and model discrimination in groundwater solute transport

Water Resources Research
By:  and 



Sampling design for site characterization studies of solute transport in porous media is formulated as a multiobjective problem. Optimal design of a sampling network is a sequential process in which the next phase of sampling is designed on the basis of all available physical knowledge of the system. Three objectives are considered: model discrimination, parameter estimation, and cost minimization. For the first two objectives, physically based measures of the value of information obtained from a set of observations are specified. In model discrimination, value of information of an observation point is measured in terms of the difference in solute concentration predicted by hypothesized models of transport. Points of greatest difference in predictions can contribute the most information to the discriminatory power of a sampling design. Sensitivity of solute concentration to a change in a parameter contributes information on the relative variance of a parameter estimate. Inclusion of points in a sampling design with high sensitivities to parameters tends to reduce variance in parameter estimates. Cost minimization accounts for both the capital cost of well installation and the operating costs of collection and analysis of field samples. Sensitivities, discrimination information, and well installation and sampling costs are used to form coefficients in the multiobjective problem in which the decision variables are binary (zero/one), each corresponding to the selection of an observation point in time and space. The solution to the multiobjective problem is a noninferior set of designs. To gain insight into effective design strategies, a one-dimensional solute transport problem is hypothesized. Then, an approximation of the noninferior set is found by enumerating 120 designs and evaluating objective functions for each of the designs. Trade-offs between pairs of objectives are demonstrated among the models. The value of an objective function for a given design is shown to correspond to the ability of a design to actually meet an objective.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Multiobjective sampling design for parameter estimation and model discrimination in groundwater solute transport
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/WR025i010p02245
Volume 25
Issue 10
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Description 14 p.
First page 2245
Last page 2258
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