Journal of hydrology vol:294 issue:4 pages:251-269
In this paper we propose a methodology to include prior information in the estimation of effective soil parameters for modelling the soil moisture content in the unsaturated zone. Laboratory measurements on undisturbed soil cores were used to estimate the moisture retention curve and hydraulic conductivity curve parameters. The soil moisture content was measured at 25 locations along three transects and-at three different depths (surface, 30 and 60 cm) on an 80 X 20 m hillslope for the year 2001. Soil cores were collected in 84 locations situated in three profile pits along the hillslope. For the estimation of the effective soil hydraulic parameters the joint probability distribution of measured parameter values was used as prior information. A two-horizon single column ID MIKE SHE model based on Richards' equation was set-up for nine soil moisture measurement locations along the middle transect of the hillslope. The goal of the model is to simulate the soil moisture profile at each location. The shuffled complex evolution (SCE) algorithm has been-applied to estimate effective model parameters using either wide parameter ranges, referred to as the 'no-prior' case, or the joint probability distribution of measured parameter values as prior information ('prior' case). When the prior information is incorporated in the SCE optimisation the goodness-of-fit of the model predictions is only slightly worse compared to when no-prior information is incorporated. However, the effective parameter estimates are more realistic when the prior information is incorporated. for both the no-prior and prior case the generalised likelihood uncertainty estimation procedure (GLUE) was subsequently used to estimate the uncertainty bounds (UB) on the model predictions. When incorporating the prior information more parameter sets were accepted for the estimation of the predictive uncertainty and the parameter values were more realistic. Moreover, UB, better enclosed the observations. Thus, incorporating prior information in GLUE reduces the amount of model evaluations needed to obtain sufficient behavioural parameter sets'. The results indicate the importance of prior information in the SCE and GLUE parameter estimation strategies. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.