Uncertainty in dual permeability model parameters for structured soils. Academic Article uri icon


  • Successful application of dual permeability models (DPM) to predict contaminant transport is contingent upon measured or inversely estimated soil hydraulic and solute transport parameters. The difficulty in unique identification of parameters for the additional macropore- and matrix-macropore interface regions, and knowledge about requisite experimental data for DPM has not been resolved to date. Therefore, this study quantifies uncertainty in dual permeability model parameters of experimental soil columns with different macropore distributions (single macropore, and low- and high-density multiple macropores). Uncertainty evaluation is conducted using adaptive Markov chain Monte Carlo (AMCMC) and conventional Metropolis-Hastings (MH) algorithms while assuming 10 out of 17 parameters to be uncertain or random. Results indicate that AMCMC resolves parameter correlations and exhibits fast convergence for all DPM parameters while MH displays large posterior correlations for various parameters. This study demonstrates that the choice of parameter sampling algorithms is paramount in obtaining unique DPM parameters when information on covariance structure is lacking, or else additional information on parameter correlations must be supplied to resolve the problem of equifinality of DPM parameters. This study also highlights the placement and significance of matrix-macropore interface in flow experiments of soil columns with different macropore densities. Histograms for certain soil hydraulic parameters display tri-modal characteristics implying that macropores are drained first followed by the interface region and then by pores of the matrix domain in drainage experiments. Results indicate that hydraulic properties and behavior of the matrix-macropore interface is not only a function of saturated hydraulic conductivity of the macroporematrix interface (Ksa ) and macropore tortuosity (lf ) but also of other parameters of the matrix and macropore domains.

published proceedings

  • Water Resour Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Arora, B., Mohanty, B. P., & McGuire, J. T.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Arora, B||Mohanty, BP||McGuire, JT

publication date

  • January 2012