Perchloroethylene (PCE) saturations determined from GPR surveys were used as observations for inversion of multiphase flow simulations of a PCE injection experiment (Borden 9??m cell), allowing for the estimation of optimal bulk intrinsic permeability values. The resulting fit statistics and analysis of residuals (observed minus simulated PCE saturations) were used to improve the conceptual model. These improvements included adjustment of the elevation of a permeability contrast, use of the van Genuchten versus Brooks-Corey capillary pressure-saturation curve, and a weighting scheme to account for greater measurement error with larger saturation values. A limitation in determining PCE saturations through one-dimensional GPR modeling is non-uniqueness when multiple GPR parameters are unknown (i.e., permittivity, depth, and gain function). Site knowledge, fixing the gain function, and multiphase flow simulations assisted in evaluating non-unique conceptual models of PCE saturation, where depth and layering were reinterpreted to provide alternate conceptual models. Remaining bias in the residuals is attributed to the violation of assumptions in the one-dimensional GPR interpretation (which assumes flat, infinite, horizontal layering) resulting from multidimensional influences that were not included in the conceptual model. While the limitations and errors in using GPR data as observations for inverse multiphase flow simulations are frustrating and difficult to quantify, simulation results indicate that the error and bias in the PCE saturation values are small enough to still provide reasonable optimal permeability values. The effort to improve model fit and reduce residual bias decreases simulation error even for an inversion based on biased observations and provides insight into alternate GPR data interpretations. Thus, this effort is warranted and provides information on bias in the observation data when this bias is otherwise difficult to assess. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Insights into the use of time-lapse GPR data as observations for inverse multiphase flow simulations of DNAPL migration