Standard Article

156 Inverse Methods for Parameter Estimations

Part 13. Groundwater

  1. Ne-Zheng Sun1,
  2. Alexander Y Sun2

Published Online: 15 APR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470848944.hsa154c

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences

How to Cite

Sun, N.-Z. and Sun, A. Y. 2006. Inverse Methods for Parameter Estimations. Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences. 13:156.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of California, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Los Angeles, CA, US

  2. 2

    CNWRA, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2006


Estimation of various flow and mass transport parameters can be seen as the inverse problem of groundwater modeling. In this article, current methodologies for parameter estimation are classified according to whether they consider the errors in observation data, in parameter structure, and in model applications. The structures of hydraulic parameters are usually very complex and unknown. This article gives an overview on adaptive parameterization methods for simultaneously identifying the parameter values, the complexity level, and the pattern of parameter structure. Methods for model reliability analysis are described. Finally, a generalized inverse problem is introduced that can find a representative parameter for a given model application.


  • parameter estimation;
  • inverse problem;
  • groundwater modeling;
  • sensitivity analysis;
  • reliability assessment;
  • model complexity;
  • experimental design