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CMWR XVI - Computational Methods in Water Resources
XVI International Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 19-22 2006

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Hydrogeophysical data fusion

Organiser: Andrew Binley, Lancaster University. a.binley@lancaster.ac.uk

Geophysical methods have been widely used to support groundwater investigations for many years. Much of these established methods, however, offer only qualitative information about hydrogeological parameters and processes and during the 1990s a re-emergence of geophysics in hydrology occurred as attempts were made to provide more quantitative information about subsurface hydrology.  The field hydrogeophysics emerged as a multi-disciplinary subject that focuses on the use of geophysical methods for characterising subsurface features, determining hydrogeological properties and monitoring processes relevant to soil and groundwater processes.   Hydrogeophysical methods can allow, for example, large scale aquifer characterisation, previously unobtainable through conventional hydrogeological techniques. In addition, time-lapse deployment of appropriate methods can give useful insight into complex subsurface processes, aiding hydrological model development and the assessment of groundwater restoration strategies.

One of the key challenges in the field of hydrogeophysics is the fusion of geophysical data within a hydrological (conceptual or numerical) model. Problems exist due to (1) the relationship between geophysical and hydrological properties is often poorly understood or (at best) subject to high uncertainty, (2) the resolution of properties within a geophysical image is often highly spatially variable and dependent on the property and geophysical modality, (3) the measurement support volume for a geophysical property is often significantly different from that of the hydrological variable under investigation, (4) the integration of multiple data sources within a formal framework that addresses data and model uncertainty is computationally demanding.

Despite these constraints, attempts have been made recently to formalise methodologies that will allow the fusion of multiple geophysical data sources and assist in constraining hydrological models of the subsurface. This session will address the challenges of such procedures, identify advances in theoretical and practical aspects of hydrogeophysical data fusion and document recent case studies where geophysical data have been integrated within a hydrogeological modelling framework.