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Standard Guide for Calibrating a Groundwater Flow Model Application (Withdrawn 2017)

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Standard Guide for Calibrating a Groundwater Flow Model Application


1.1 This guide covers techniques that can be used to calibrate a ground-water flow model. The calibration of a model is the process of matching historical data, and is usually a prerequisite for making predictions with the model.

1.2 Calibration is one of the stages of applying a ground-water modeling code to a site-specific problem (see Guide D 5447). Calibration is the process of refining the model representation of the hydrogeologic framework, hydraulic properties, and boundary conditions to achieve a desired degree of correspondence between the model simulations and observations of the ground-water flow system.

1.3 Flow models are usually calibrated using either the manual (trial-and-error) method or an automated (inverse) method. This guide presents some techniques for calibrating a flow model using either method.

1.4 This guide is written for calibrating saturated porous medium (continuum) ground-water flow models. However, these techniques, suitably modified, could be applied to other types of related ground-water models, such as multi-phase models, non-continuum (karst or fracture flow) models, or mass transport models.

1.5 Guide D 5447 presents the steps to be taken in applying a ground-water modeling code to a site-specific problem. Calibration is one of those steps. Other standards have been prepared on environmental modeling, such as Guides D 5490, D 5609, D 5610, D 5611, D 5718, and Practice E 978.

1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

Significance and Use

Most site-specific ground-water flow models must be calibrated prior to use in predictions. In these cases, calibration is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition which must be obtained to have confidence in the model’predictions.

Often, during calibration, it becomes apparent that there are no realistic values of the hydraulic properties of the soil or rock which will allow the model to reproduce the calibration targets. In these cases the conceptual model of the site may need to be revisited or the construction of the model may need to be revised. In addition, the source and quality of the data used to establish the calibration targets may need to be reexamined. For example, the modeling process can sometimes identify a previously undetected surveying error, which would results in inaccurate hydraulic head targets.

This guide is not meant to be an inflexible description of techniques for calibrating a ground-water flow model; other techniques may be applied as appropriate and, after due consideration, some of the techniques herein may be omitted, altered, or enhanced.


calibration; ground water; inverse methods; modeling; residual; trial-and-error; uniqueness; verification; ICS Number Code 13.060.10 (Water of natural resources)

To find similar documents by ASTM Volume:

04.09 (Soil and Rock (II): D5877 - latest)

To find similar documents by classification:

13.060.10 (Water of natural resources)

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Publication Date

July 10, 1996

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Page Count

6 pages

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