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Equifinality and the problem of robust calibration in nitrogen budget simulations.

Schulz, Karsten and Beven, Keith J. and Huwe, Bernd (1999) Equifinality and the problem of robust calibration in nitrogen budget simulations. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 63 (6). pp. 1934-1941. ISSN 0361-5995

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Abstract

Recent trends in predicting N dynamics of agricultural catchments have led to the development of increasingly complex simulation models. However, the parameter calibration of these models is often limited by the availability and temporal resolution of appropriate measurement data. This study addressed the problem of evaluating the predictive uncertainty of a simple N budget simulation model when applied across a winter period by using the Bayesian Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) methodology. Within a Monte Carlo simulation analysis, it was shown that parameter equifinality was obtained across wide areas of the model parameter space. Equifinality is used here in the sense that many different parameter combinations will produce similar good simulation results with respect to available calibration data. The GLUE methodology assigned a likelihood weight to each acceptable simulation from where uncertainty bounds for the predicted amounts of mineral N in a soil profile and for N drainage fluxes were calculated. It was demonstrated that the equifinality of different parameter sets results in large uncertainty in the predictions. This study also suggested that introducing more complexity into the process description is very unlikely to allow this uncertainty to be constrained.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Soil Science Society of America Journal
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 21752
Deposited By: ep_ss_importer
Deposited On: 05 Feb 2009 13:26
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:51
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/21752

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