Toward improved identifiability of soil hydraulic parameters: On the selection of a suitable parametric model

Jasper A. Vrugt, Willem Bouten, Hoshin V. Gupta, Jan W. Hopmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


We present a thorough identifiability analysis of the soil hydraulic parameters in the parametric models of Brooks and Corey (BC; Brooks and Corey, 1964), Mualem-van Genuchten (VG; van Genuchten, 1980), and Kosugi (KC; Kosugi, 1996, 1999) using the recently developed Shuffled Complex Evolution Metropolis (SCEM-UA) algorithm (Vrugt et al., 2002b, and unpublished data). Because the SCEM-UA algorithm globally thoroughly exploits the parameter space and therefore explicitly accounts for parameter interdependence and nonlinearity of the employed parametric models, the algorithm is suited to generate a useful description of parameter uncertainty and its antithesis, parameter identifiability. A set of measured water retention characteristics of the UNSODA database (Leij et al., 1996) spanning a wide range of soil textures and three transient laboratory outflow experiments with decreasing flow rates were used to illustrate that a parameter identifiability analysis facilitates the selection of an adequate parametric model structure and provides useful information about the limitations of a model. Moreover, results suggest that one should be especially careful in establishing pedotransfer functions without knowledge of the underlying posterior uncertainty associated with the soil hydraulic parameters using direct estimation methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-113
Number of pages16
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science

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