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Calibration of Parameter Fields Consisting of Multiple Statistical Populations


Deltares Division of Soil and Groundwater Systems, Princetonlaan 6, P.O. Box 85467, 3508 AL Utrecht, The Netherlands; (31) 30 256 4713; fax (31) 30 256 4855;


If a parameter field to be calibrated consists of more than one statistical population, usually not only the parameter values are uncertain, but the spatial distributions of the populations are uncertain as well. In this study, we demonstrate the potential of the multimodal calibration method we proposed recently for the calibration of such fields, as applied to real-world ground water models with several additional stochastic parameter fields. Our method enables the calibration of the spatial distribution of the statistical populations, as well as their spatially correlated parameterization, while honoring the complete prior geostatistical definition of the multimodal parameter field. We illustrate the implications of the method in terms of the reliability of the posterior model by comparing its performance to that of a “conventional” calibration approach in which the positions of the statistical populations are not allowed to change. Information from synthetic calibration runs is used to show how ignoring the uncertainty involved in the positions of the statistical populations not only denies the modeler the opportunity to use the measurement information to improve these positions but also unduly influences the posterior intrapopulation distributions, causes unjustified adjustments to the cocalibrated parameter fields, and results in poorer observation reproduction. The proposed multimodal calibration allows a more complete treatment of the relevant uncertainties, which prevents the abovementioned adverse effects and renders a more trustworthy posterior model.