Open Access
September 2016 Spatio-temporal assimilation of modelled catchment loads with monitoring data in the Great Barrier Reef
Daniel W. Gladish, Stephen E. Lewis, Zoë T. Bainbridge, Jon E. Brodie, Petra M. Kuhnert, Daniel E. Pagendam, Christopher K. Wikle, Rebecca Bartley, Ross D. Searle, Robin J. Ellis, Cameron Dougall, Ryan D. R. Turner
Ann. Appl. Stat. 10(3): 1590-1618 (September 2016). DOI: 10.1214/16-AOAS950


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.


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


Received: 1 June 2015; Revised: 1 June 2016; Published: September 2016
First available in Project Euclid: 28 September 2016

zbMATH: 06775279
MathSciNet: MR3553237
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/16-AOAS950

Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical model , catchment modelling , SedNet , spatio-temporal , Water quality

Rights: Copyright © 2016 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.10 • No. 3 • September 2016
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