Developing a particle tracking surrogate model to improve inversion of ground water – Surface water models

Yohann Cousquer, Alexandre Pryet, Olivier Atteia, Ty P.A. Ferré, Célestine Delbart, Rémi Valois, Alain Dupuy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The inverse problem of groundwater models is often ill-posed and model parameters are likely to be poorly constrained. Identifiability is improved if diverse data types are used for parameter estimation. However, some models, including detailed solute transport models, are further limited by prohibitive computation times. This often precludes the use of concentration data for parameter estimation, even if those data are available. In the case of surface water-groundwater (SW-GW) models, concentration data can provide SW-GW mixing ratios, which efficiently constrain the estimate of exchange flow, but are rarely used. We propose to reduce computational limits by simulating SW-GW exchange at a sink (well or drain) based on particle tracking under steady state flow conditions. Particle tracking is used to simulate advective transport. A comparison between the particle tracking surrogate model and an advective–dispersive model shows that dispersion can often be neglected when the mixing ratio is computed for a sink, allowing for use of the particle tracking surrogate model. The surrogate model was implemented to solve the inverse problem for a real SW-GW transport problem with heads and concentrations combined in a weighted hybrid objective function. The resulting inversion showed markedly reduced uncertainty in the transmissivity field compared to calibration on head data alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-365
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Null-space Monte carlo
  • Particle-tracking
  • Stream-aquifer
  • Surrogate model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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