Low-Rank Kalman Filtering in Subsurface Contaminant Transport Models

  • Mohamad El Gharamti

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Understanding the geology and the hydrology of the subsurface is important to model the fluid flow and the behavior of the contaminant. It is essential to have an accurate knowledge of the movement of the contaminants in the porous media in order to track them and later extract them from the aquifer. A two-dimensional flow model is studied and then applied on a linear contaminant transport model in the same porous medium. Because of possible different sources of uncertainties, the deterministic model by itself cannot give exact estimations for the future contaminant state. Incorporating observations in the model can guide it to the true state. This is usually done using the Kalman filter (KF) when the system is linear and the extended Kalman filter (EKF) when the system is nonlinear. To overcome the high computational cost required by the KF, we use the singular evolutive Kalman filter (SEKF) and the singular evolutive extended Kalman filter (SEEKF) approximations of the KF operating with low-rank covariance matrices. The SEKF can be implemented on large dimensional contaminant problems while the usage of the KF is not possible. Experimental results show that with perfect and imperfect models, the low rank filters can provide as much accurate estimates as the full KF but at much less computational cost. Localization can help the filter analysis as long as there are enough neighborhood data to the point being analyzed. Estimating the permeabilities of the aquifer is successfully tackled using both the EKF and the SEEKF.
Date of AwardDec 2010
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorIbrahim Hoteit (Supervisor)


  • Kalman Filtering
  • Subsurface Contaminant Transport Model

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