An Iterative Ensemble Kalman Filter with One-Step-Ahead Smoothing for State-Parameters Estimation of Contaminant Transport Models

Mohamad El Gharamti, Boujemaa Ait-El-Fquih, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) is a popular method for state-parameters estimation of subsurface flow and transport models based on field measurements. The common filtering procedure is to directly update the state and parameters as one single vector, which is known as the Joint-EnKF. In this study, we follow the one-step-ahead smoothing formulation of the filtering problem, to derive a new joint-based EnKF which involves a smoothing step of the state between two successive analysis steps. The new state-parameters estimation scheme is derived in a consistent Bayesian filtering framework and results in separate update steps for the state and the parameters. This new algorithm bears strong resemblance with the Dual-EnKF, but unlike the latter which first propagates the state with the model then updates it with the new observation, the proposed scheme starts by an update step, followed by a model integration step. We exploit this new formulation of the joint filtering problem and propose an efficient model-integration-free iterative procedure on the update step of the parameters only for further improved performances. Numerical experiments are conducted with a two-dimensional synthetic subsurface transport model simulating the migration of a contaminant plume in a heterogenous aquifer domain. Contaminant concentration data are assimilated to estimate both the contaminant state and the hydraulic conductivity field. Assimilation runs are performed under imperfect modeling conditions and various observational scenarios. Simulation results suggest that the proposed scheme efficiently recovers both the contaminant state and the aquifer conductivity, providing more accurate estimates than the standard Joint and Dual EnKFs in all tested scenarios. Iterating on the update step of the new scheme further enhances the proposed filter’s behavior. In term of computational cost, the new Joint-EnKF is almost equivalent to that of the Dual-EnKF, but requires twice more model integrations than the standard Joint-EnKF.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-457
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - May 11 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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