When a numerical model is to be used as a practical tool, its parameters should preferably be stable and consistent, that is, possess a small uncertainty and be time-invariant. Using data and predictions of alongshore mean currents flowing on a beach as a case study, this paper illustrates how parameter stability and consistency can be assessed using Markov chain Monte Carlo. Within a single calibration run, Markov chain Monte Carlo estimates the parameter posterior probability density function, its mode being the best-fit parameter set. Parameter stability is investigated by stepwise adding new data to a calibration run, while consistency is examined by calibrating the model on different datasets of equal length. The results for the present case study indicate that various tidal cycles with strong (say, >0.5 m/s) currents are required to obtain stable parameter estimates, and that the best-fit model parameters and the underlying posterior distribution are strongly time-varying. This inconsistent parameter behavior may reflect unresolved variability of the processes represented by the parameters, or may represent compensational behavior for temporal violations in specific model assumptions.
Parameter stability and consistency in an alongshore-current model determined with Markov chain Monte Carlo
B. G. Ruessink; Parameter stability and consistency in an alongshore-current model determined with Markov chain Monte Carlo. Journal of Hydroinformatics 1 March 2008; 10 (2): 153–162. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/hydro.2008.016
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