Spatio-temporal assimilation of modelled catchment loads with monitoring data in the Great Barrier Reef

Gladish, Daniel W., Kuhnert, Petra M., Pagendam, Daniel E., Wikle, Christopher K., Bartley, Rebecca, Searle, Ross D., Ellis, Robin J., Dougall, Cameron, Turner, Ryan D.R., Lewis, Stephen E., Bainbridge, Zoe T., and Brodie, Jon E. (2016) Spatio-temporal assimilation of modelled catchment loads with monitoring data in the Great Barrier Reef. Annals of Applied Statistics, 10 (3). pp. 1590-1618.

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Abstract

Soil erosion and sediment transport into waterways and the ocean can adversely affect water clarity, leading to the deterioration of marine ecosystems such as the iconic Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. Quantifying a sediment load and its associated uncertainty is an important task in delineating how changes in management practices can contribute to improvements in water quality, and therefore continued sustainability of the GBR. However, monitoring data are spatially (and often temporally) sparse, making load estimation complicated, particularly when there are lengthy periods between sampling or during peak flow periods of major events when samples cannot be safely taken.

We develop a spatio-temporal statistical model that is mechanistically motivated by a process-based deterministic model called Dynamic SedNet. The model is developed within a Bayesian hierarchical modelling framework that uses dimension reduction to accommodate seasonal and spatial patterns to assimilate monitored sediment concentration and flow data with output from Dynamic SedNet. The approach is applied in the Upper Burdekin catchment in Queensland, Australia, where we obtain daily estimates of sediment concentrations, stream discharge volumes and sediment loads at 411 spatial locations across 20 years. Our approach provides a method for assimilating both monitoring data and modelled output, providing a statistically rigorous method for quantifying uncertainty through space and time that was previously unavailable through process-based models.

Item ID: 46138
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: water quality, Bayesian hierarchical model, SedNet, catchment modelling, spatio-temporal
ISSN: 1941-7330
Funders: Reef Rescue (RR), CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, CSIRO Digital Productivity Flagship
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2016 05:11
FoR Codes: 01 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 0104 Statistics > 010401 Applied Statistics @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960903 Coastal and Estuarine Water Management @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961102 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
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