Improved efficiency of maximum likelihood analysis of time series with temporally correlated errors

Journal of Geodesy



Most time series of geophysical phenomena have temporally correlated errors. From these measurements, various parameters are estimated. For instance, from geodetic measurements of positions, the rates and changes in rates are often estimated and are used to model tectonic processes. Along with the estimates of the size of the parameters, the error in these parameters needs to be assessed. If temporal correlations are not taken into account, or each observation is assumed to be independent, it is likely that any estimate of the error of these parameters will be too low and the estimated value of the parameter will be biased. Inclusion of better estimates of uncertainties is limited by several factors, including selection of the correct model for the background noise and the computational requirements to estimate the parameters of the selected noise model for cases where there are numerous observations. Here, I address the second problem of computational efficiency using maximum likelihood estimates (MLE). Most geophysical time series have background noise processes that can be represented as a combination of white and power-law noise, 1/fα1/fα with frequency, f. With missing data, standard spectral techniques involving FFTs are not appropriate. Instead, time domain techniques involving construction and inversion of large data covariance matrices are employed. Bos et al. (J Geod, 2013. doi:10.1007/s00190-012-0605-0) demonstrate one technique that substantially increases the efficiency of the MLE methods, yet is only an approximate solution for power-law indices >1.0 since they require the data covariance matrix to be Toeplitz. That restriction can be removed by simply forming a data filter that adds noise processes rather than combining them in quadrature. Consequently, the inversion of the data covariance matrix is simplified yet provides robust results for a wider range of power-law indices.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Improved efficiency of maximum likelihood analysis of time series with temporally correlated errors
Series title Journal of Geodesy
DOI 10.1007/s00190-017-1002-5
Volume 91
Issue 8
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 985
Last page 994