A software tool to assess uncertainty in transient-storage model parameters using Monte Carlo simulations

Adam S. Ward, Christa A. Kelleher, Seth J K Mason, Thorsten Wagener, Neil McIntyre, Brian McGlynn, Robert L. Runkel, Robert A. Payn

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Abstract

Researchers and practitioners alike often need to understand and characterize how water and solutes move through a stream in terms of the relative importance of in-stream and near-stream storage and transport processes. In-channel and subsurface storage processes are highly variable in space and time and difficult to measure. Storage estimates are commonly obtained using transient-storage models (TSMs) of the experimentally obtained solute-tracer test data. The TSM equations represent key transport and storage processes with a suite of numerical parameters. Parameter values are estimated via inverse modeling, in which parameter values are iteratively changed until model simulations closely match observed solute-tracer data. Several investigators have shown that TSM parameter estimates can be highly uncertain. When this is the case, parameter values cannot be used reliably to interpret stream-reach functioning. However, authors of most TSM studies do not evaluate or report parameter certainty. Here, we present a software tool linked to the One-dimensional Transport with Inflow and Storage (OTIS) model that enables researchers to conduct uncertainty analyses via Monte-Carlo parameter sampling and to visualize uncertainty and sensitivity results. We demonstrate application of our tool to 2 case studies and compare our results to output obtained from more traditional implementation of the OTIS model. We conclude by suggesting best practices for transient-storage modeling and recommend that future applications of TSMs include assessments of parameter certainty to support comparisons and more reliable interpretations of transport processes.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages195-217
Number of pages23
JournalFreshwater Science
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Fingerprint

software
simulation
parameter
uncertainty
transport process
solute
storage (process)
solutes
inflow
tracer
modeling
tracer techniques
researchers
sampling
water
comparison
test
space and time
simulation models
case studies

Keywords

  • Hyporheic zone
  • Inverse modeling
  • MCAT
  • OTIS
  • OTIS-MCAT
  • Parameter estimation
  • Solute transport
  • Tracer
  • Transient storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Ward, A. S., Kelleher, C. A., Mason, S. J. K., Wagener, T., McIntyre, N., McGlynn, B., ... Payn, R. A. (2017). A software tool to assess uncertainty in transient-storage model parameters using Monte Carlo simulations. Freshwater Science, 36(1), 195-217. DOI: 10.1086/690444

A software tool to assess uncertainty in transient-storage model parameters using Monte Carlo simulations. / Ward, Adam S.; Kelleher, Christa A.; Mason, Seth J K; Wagener, Thorsten; McIntyre, Neil; McGlynn, Brian; Runkel, Robert L.; Payn, Robert A.

In: Freshwater Science, Vol. 36, No. 1, 01.03.2017, p. 195-217.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Ward, AS, Kelleher, CA, Mason, SJK, Wagener, T, McIntyre, N, McGlynn, B, Runkel, RL & Payn, RA 2017, 'A software tool to assess uncertainty in transient-storage model parameters using Monte Carlo simulations' Freshwater Science, vol 36, no. 1, pp. 195-217. DOI: 10.1086/690444
Ward AS, Kelleher CA, Mason SJK, Wagener T, McIntyre N, McGlynn B et al. A software tool to assess uncertainty in transient-storage model parameters using Monte Carlo simulations. Freshwater Science. 2017 Mar 1;36(1):195-217. Available from, DOI: 10.1086/690444
Ward, Adam S. ; Kelleher, Christa A. ; Mason, Seth J K ; Wagener, Thorsten ; McIntyre, Neil ; McGlynn, Brian ; Runkel, Robert L. ; Payn, Robert A./ A software tool to assess uncertainty in transient-storage model parameters using Monte Carlo simulations. In: Freshwater Science. 2017 ; Vol. 36, No. 1. pp. 195-217
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