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Models and Modeling: An Introduction for Earth and Environmental Scientists

ISBN: 978-1-119-13036-9
264 pages
November 2016, Wiley-Blackwell
Models and Modeling: An Introduction for Earth and Environmental Scientists (1119130360) cover image

Description

An Introduction to Models and Modeling in the Earth and Environmental Sciences

offers students and professionals the opportunity to learn about groundwater modeling, starting

from the basics. Using clear, physically-intuitive examples, the author systematically takes

us on a tour that begins with the simplest representations of fluid flow and builds through

the most important equations of groundwater hydrology. Along the way, we learn how

to develop a conceptual understanding of a system, how to choose boundary and initial

conditions, and how to exploit model symmetry. Other important topics covered include

non-dimensionalization, sensitivity, and finite differences. Written in an eclectic and readable

style that will win over even math-phobic students, this text lays the foundation for a

successful career in modeling and is accessible to anyone that has completed two semesters

of Calculus.

Although the popular image of a geologist or environmental scientist may be the rugged

adventurer, heading off into the wilderness with a compass and a hand level, the disciplines

of geology, hydrogeology, and environmental sciences have become increasingly quantitative.

Today’s earth science professionals routinely work with mathematical and computer models,

and career success often demands a broad range of analytical and computational skills.

An Introduction to Models and Modeling in the Earth and Environmental Sciencesis written for

students and professionals who want to learn the craft of modeling, and do more than just

run “black box” computer simulations.

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Table of Contents

About the companion website, xi

Introduction, 1

1 Modeling basics, 4

1.1 Learning to model, 4

1.2 Three cardinal rules of modeling, 5

1.3 How can I evaluate my model?, 7

1.4 Conclusions, 8

2 A model of exponential decay, 9

2.1 Exponential decay, 9

2.2 The Bandurraga Basin, Idaho, 10

2.3 Getting organized, 10

2.4 Nondimensionalization, 17

2.5 Solving for θ, 19

2.6 Calibrating the model to the data, 21

2.7 Extending the model, 23

2.8 A numerical solution for exponential decay, 26

2.9 Conclusions, 28

2.10 Problems, 29

3 A model of water quality, 31

3.1 Oases in the desert, 31

3.2 Understanding the problem, 32

3.3 Model development, 32

3.4 Evaluating the model, 37

3.5 Applying the model, 38

3.6 Conclusions, 39

3.7 Problems, 40

4 The Laplace equation, 42

4.1 Laplace’s equation, 42

4.2 The Elysian Fields, 43

4.3 Model development, 44

4.4 Quantifying the conceptual model, 47

4.5 Nondimensionalization, 48

4.6 Solving the governing equation, 49

4.7 What does it mean?, 50

4.8 Numerical approximation of the second derivative, 54

4.9 Conclusions, 57

4.10 Problems, 58

5 The Poisson equation, 62

5.1 Poisson’s equation, 62

5.2 Alcatraz island, 63

5.3 Understanding the problem, 65

5.4 Quantifying the conceptual model, 74

5.5 Nondimensionalization, 76

5.6 Seeking a solution, 79

5.7 An alternative nondimensionalization, 82

5.8 Conclusions, 84

5.9 Problems, 85

6 The transient diffusion equation, 87

6.1 The diffusion equation, 87

6.2 The Twelve Labors of Hercules, 88

6.3 The Augean Stables, 90

6.4 Carrying out the plan, 92

6.5 An analytical solution, 100

6.6 Evaluating the solution, 109

6.7 Transient finite differences, 114

6.8 Conclusions, 118

6.9 Problems, 119

7 The Theis equation, 122

7.1 The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure, 122

7.2 Statement of the problem, 124

7.3 The governing equation, 125

7.4 Boundary conditions, 127

7.5 Nondimensionalization, 128

7.6 Solving the governing equation, 132

7.7 Theis and the “well function”, 134

7.8 Back to the beginning, 135

7.9 Violating the model assumptions, 138

7.10 Conclusions, 139

7.11 Problems, 140

8 The transport equation, 141

8.1 The advection–dispersion equation, 141

8.2 The problem child, 143

8.3 The Augean Stables, revisited, 144

8.4 Defining the problem, 144

8.5 The governing equation, 146

8.6 Nondimensionalization, 148

8.7 Analytical solutions, 152

8.8 Cauchy conditions, 165

8.9 Retardation and dispersion, 167

8.10 Numerical solution of the ADE, 169

8.11 Conclusions, 173

8.12 Problems, 174

9 Heterogeneity and anisotropy, 177

9.1 Understanding the problem, 177

9.2 Heterogeneity and the representative elemental volume, 179

9.3 Heterogeneity and effective properties, 180

9.4 Anisotropy in porous media, 187

9.5 Layered media, 188

9.6 Numerical simulation, 189

9.7 Some additional considerations, 191

9.8 Conclusions, 192

9.9 Problems, 192

10 Approximation, error, and sensitivity, 195

10.1 Things we almost know, 195

10.2 Approximation using derivatives, 196

10.3 Improving our estimates, 197

10.4 Bounding errors, 199

10.5 Model sensitivity, 201

10.6 Conclusions, 206

10.7 Problems, 207

11 A case study, 210

11.1 The Borax Lake Hot Springs, 210

11.2 Study motivation and conceptual model, 212

11.3 Defining the conceptual model, 213

11.4 Model development, 215

11.5 Evaluating the solution, 224

11.6 Conclusions, 229

11.7 Problems, 230

12 Closing remarks, 233

12.1 Some final thoughts, 233

Appendix A A heuristic approach to nondimensionalization, 236

Appendix B Evaluating implicit equations, 238

B.1 Trial and error, 239

B.2 The graphical method, 239

B.3 Iteration, 240

B.4 Newton’s method, 241

Appendix C Matrix solution for implicit algorithms, 243

C.1 Solution of 1D equations, 243

C.2 Solution for higher dimensional problems, 244

C.3 The tridiagonal matrix routine TDMA, 244

Index, 247

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Author Information

Dr. Jerry P. Fairley received his PhD in Earth Resources Engineering from the University

of California, Berkeley. He was the Chief Hydrologist for Site Characterization on the US-

DOE’s Yucca Mountain Project (1993–1995), and worked as a modeler for the Earth Sciences

Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is currently a Professor of Geology

at the University of Idaho, Department of Geological Sciences.

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