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A method based on local approximate solutions (LAS) for inverting transient flow in heterogeneous aquifers

Jiao, Jianying, Zhang, Ye
Journal of hydrology 2014 v.514 pp. 145-149
aquifers, equations, space and time, transient flow
An inverse method based on local approximate solutions (LAS inverse method) is proposed to invert transient flows in heterogeneous aquifers. Unlike the objective-function-based inversion techniques, the method does not require forward simulations to assess measurement-to-model misfits; thus the knowledge of aquifer initial conditions (IC) and boundary conditions (BC) is not required. Instead, the method employs a set of local approximate solutions of flow to impose continuity of hydraulic head and Darcy fluxes throughout space and time. Given sufficient (but limited) measurements, it yields well-posed systems of nonlinear equations that can be solved efficiently with optimization. Solution of the inversion includes parameters (hydraulic conductivities, specific storage coefficients) and flow field including the unknown IC and BC. Given error-free measurements, the estimated conductivities and specific storages are accurate within 10% of the true values. When increasing measurement errors are imposed, the estimated parameters become less accurate, but the inverse solution is still stable, i.e., parameter, IC, and BC estimation remains bounded. For a problem where parameter variation is unknown, highly parameterized inversion can reveal the underlying parameter structure, whereas equivalent conductivity and average storage coefficient can also be estimated. Because of the physically-based constraints placed in inversion, the number of measurements does not need to exceed the number of parameters for the inverse method to succeed.