A numerical approach for approximating statistical moments of hydraulic heads of variably saturated flows in multi-dimensional porous media is developed. The approximation relies on a first-order Taylor series expansion of a finite element flow model and an adjoint state numerical method for variably saturatd flows to evaluate sensitivities. This approach can be employed to analyze uncertainties associated with predictions of head of steady-state or transient flows in variably saturated porous media, with any type of boundary and initial conditions. Limitations of stochastic analytical methods such as spectral/perturbation approaches and the time-consuming Monte Carlo simulation technique are thus alleviated. An example is given to demonstrate the utility of the approach and to investigate the temporal evolution of head variances in a variably saturated flow regime. Results show that the fluctuation of the water table can have significant impacts on the propagation of the head variance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology