A non-linear and stochastic response surface method for Bayesian estimation of uncertainty in soil moisture simulation from a land surface model
Abstract. This study presents a simple and efficient scheme for Bayesian estimation of uncertainty in soil moisture simulation by a Land Surface Model (LSM). The scheme is assessed within a Monte Carlo (MC) simulation framework based on the Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) methodology. A primary limitation of using the GLUE method is the prohibitive computational burden imposed by uniform random sampling of the model's parameter distributions. Sampling is improved in the proposed scheme by stochastic modeling of the parameters' response surface that recognizes the non-linear deterministic behavior between soil moisture and land surface parameters. Uncertainty in soil moisture simulation (model output) is approximated through a Hermite polynomial chaos expansion of normal random variables that represent the model's parameter (model input) uncertainty. The unknown coefficients of the polynomial are calculated using limited number of model simulation runs. The calibrated polynomial is then used as a fast-running proxy to the slower-running LSM to predict the degree of representativeness of a randomly sampled model parameter set. An evaluation of the scheme's efficiency in sampling is made through comparison with the fully random MC sampling (the norm for GLUE) and the nearest-neighborhood sampling technique. The scheme was able to reduce computational burden of random MC sampling for GLUE in the ranges of 10%-70%. The scheme was also found to be about 10% more efficient than the nearest-neighborhood sampling method in predicting a sampled parameter set's degree of representativeness. The GLUE based on the proposed sampling scheme did not alter the essential features of the uncertainty structure in soil moisture simulation. The scheme can potentially make GLUE uncertainty estimation for any LSM more efficient as it does not impose any additional structural or distributional assumptions.