Recent Submissions

  • Field data provide estimates of effective permeability, fracture spacing, well drainage area and incremental production in gas shales

    Eftekhari, Behzad; Marder, M.; Patzek, Tadeusz (Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-23) [Article]
    About half of US natural gas comes from gas shales. It is valuable to study field production well by well. We present a field data-driven solution for long-term shale gas production from a horizontal, hydrofractured well far from other wells and reservoir boundaries. Our approach is a hybrid between an unstructured big-data approach and physics-based models. We extend a previous two-parameter scaling theory of shale gas production by adding a third parameter that incorporates gas inflow from the external unstimulated reservoir. This allows us to estimate for the first time the effective permeability of the unstimulated shale and the spacing of fractures in the stimulated region. From an analysis of wells in the Barnett shale, we find that on average stimulation fractures are spaced every 20 m, and the effective permeability of the unstimulated region is 100 nanodarcy. We estimate that over 30 years on production the Barnett wells will produce on average about 20% more gas because of inflow from the outside of the stimulated volume. There is a clear tradeoff between production rate and ultimate recovery in shale gas development. In particular, our work has strong implications for well spacing in infill drilling programs.
  • Thermal shale fracturing simulation using the Cohesive Zone Method (CZM)

    Enayatpour, Saeid; van Oort, Eric; Patzek, Tadeusz (Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-17) [Article]
    Extensive research has been conducted over the past two decades to improve hydraulic fracturing methods used for hydrocarbon recovery from tight reservoir rocks such as shales. Our focus in this paper is on thermal fracturing of such tight rocks to enhance hydraulic fracturing efficiency. Thermal fracturing is effective in generating small fractures in the near-wellbore zone - or in the vicinity of natural or induced fractures - that may act as initiation points for larger fractures. Previous analytical and numerical results indicate that thermal fracturing in tight rock significantly enhances rock permeability, thereby enhancing hydrocarbon recovery. Here, we present a more powerful way of simulating the initiation and propagation of thermally induced fractures in tight formations using the Cohesive Zone Method (CZM). The advantages of CZM are: 1) CZM simulation is fast compared to similar models which are based on the spring-mass particle method or Discrete Element Method (DEM); 2) unlike DEM, rock material complexities such as scale-dependent failure behavior can be incorporated in a CZM simulation; 3) CZM is capable of predicting the extent of fracture propagation in rock, which is more difficult to determine in a classic finite element approach. We demonstrate that CZM delivers results for the challenging fracture propagation problem of similar accuracy to the eXtended Finite Element Method (XFEM) while reducing complexity and computational effort. Simulation results for thermal fracturing in the near-wellbore zone show the effect of stress anisotropy in fracture propagation in the direction of the maximum horizontal stress. It is shown that CZM can be used to readily obtain the extent and the pattern of induced thermal fractures.
  • Ensemble Kalman Filter Inference of Spatially-varying Manning’s n coefficients in the Coastal Ocean

    Siripatana, Adil; Mayo, Talea; Knio, Omar; Dawson, Clint; Maître, Olivier Le; Hoteit, Ibrahim (Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-16) [Article]
    Ensemble Kalman (EnKF) filtering is an established framework for large scale state estimation problems. EnKFs can also be used for state-parameter estimation, using the so-called “Joint-EnKF” approach. The idea is simply to augment the state vector with the parameters to be estimated and assign invariant dynamics for the time evolution of the parameters. In this contribution, we investigate the efficiency of the Joint-EnKF for estimating spatially-varying Manning’s n coefficients used to define the bottom roughness in the Shallow Water Equations (SWEs) of a coastal ocean model.Observation System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) are conducted using the ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) model, which solves a modified form of the Shallow Water Equations. A deterministic EnKF, the Singular Evolutive Interpolated Kalman (SEIK) filter, is used to estimate a vector of Manning’s n coefficients defined at the model nodal points by assimilating synthetic water elevation data. It is found that with reasonable ensemble size (O(10)), the filter’s estimate converges to the reference Manning’s field. To enhance performance, we have further reduced the dimension of the parameter search space through a Karhunen-Loéve (KL) expansion. We have also iterated on the filter update step to better account for the nonlinearity of the parameter estimation problem. We study the sensitivity of the system to the ensemble size, localization scale, dimension of retained KL modes, and number of iterations. The performance of the proposed framework in term of estimation accuracy suggests that a well-tuned Joint-EnKF provides a promising robust approach to infer spatially varying seabed roughness parameters in the context of coastal ocean modeling.
  • Evidence for crustal low shear-wave speed in western Saudi Arabia from multi-scale fundamental-mode Rayleigh-wave group-velocity tomography

    Tang, Zheng; Mai, Paul Martin; Chang, Sung-Joon; Zahran, Hani (Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier BV, 2018-05-15) [Article]
    We investigate the crustal and upper-mantle shear-velocity structure of Saudi Arabia by fundamental-mode Rayleigh-wave group-velocity tomography and shear-wave velocity inversion. The seismic dataset is compiled using ∼140 stations of the Saudi National Seismic Network (SNSN) operated by the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS). We measure Rayleigh-wave group-velocities at periods of 8–40 s from regional earthquakes. After obtaining 1-D shear-wave velocity models by inverting group-velocities at each grid node, we construct a 3-D shear-velocity model for Saudi Arabia and adjacent regions by interpolating the 1-D models. Our 3-D model indicates significant lateral variations in crustal and lithospheric thickness, as well as in the shear-wave velocity over the study region. In particular, we identify zones of reduced shear-wave speed at crustal levels beneath the Cenozoic volcanic fields in the Arabian Shield. The inferred reductions of 2–5% in shear-wave speed may be interpreted as possibly indicating the presence of partial melts. However, their precise origin we can only speculate about. Our study also reveals an upper-mantle low velocity zone (LVZ) below the Arabian Shield, supporting the model of lateral mantle flow from the Afar plume. Further geophysical experiments are needed to confirm (or refute) the hypothesis that partial melts may exist below the Cenozoic volcanism in western Saudi Arabia, and to build a comprehensive geodynamic–geological model for the evolution and present state of the lithosphere of the Arabian Plate and the Red Sea.
  • Large-Scale True Triaxial Apparatus for Geophysical Studies in Fractured Rock

    Garcia, A. V.; Rached, R. M.; Santamarina, Carlos (Geotechnical Testing Journal, ASTM International, 2018-05-12) [Article]
    The study of fractured rock masses in the laboratory remains challenging because of the large specimen sizes and bulky loading systems that are required. This article presents the design, structural analysis, and operation of a compact and self-reacting true triaxial device for fractured rock. The frame subjects a 50 cm by 50 cm by 50 cm fractured rock specimen to a maximum stress of 3 MPa along three independent axes. Concurrent measurements include long-wavelength P-wave propagation, passive acoustic emission monitoring, deformations, and thermal measurements. The device can accommodate diverse research, from rock mass properties and geophysical fractured rock characterizations, to coupled hydro-chemo-thermo-mechanical processes, drilling, and grouting. Preliminary wave propagation data gathered under isotropic and anisotropic stress conditions for an assembly of 4,000 rock blocks demonstrate the system’s versatility and provide unprecedented information related to long-wavelength propagation in fractured rock under various stress anisotropies.
  • Ground Deformation Related to Caldera Collapse and Ring-Fault Activity

    Liu, Yuan-Kai (2018-05) [Thesis]
    Advisor: Jonsson, Sigurjon
    Committee members: Santamarina, Carlos; Thoroddsen, Sigurdur T
    Volcanic subsidence, caused by partial emptying of magma in the subsurface reservoir has long been observed by spaceborne radar interferometry. Monitoring long-term crustal deformation at the most notable type of volcanic subsidence, caldera, gives us insights of the spatial and hazard-related information of subsurface reservoir. Several subsiding calderas, such as volcanoes on the Galapagos islands have shown a complex ground deformation pattern, which is often composed of a broad deflation signal affecting the entire edifice and a localized subsidence signal focused within the caldera floor. Although numerical or analytical models with multiple reservoirs are proposed as the interpretation, geologically and geophysically evidenced ring structures in the subsurface are often ignored. Therefore, it is still debatable how deep mechanisms relate to the observed deformation patterns near the surface. We aim to understand what kind of activities can lead to the complex deformation. Using two complementary approaches, we study the three-dimensional geometry and kinematics of deflation processes evolving from initial subsidence to later collapse of calderas. Firstly, the analog experiments analyzed by structure-from-motion photogrammetry (SfM) and particle image velocimetry (PIV) helps us to relate the surface deformation to the in-depth structures. Secondly, the numerical modeling using boundary element method (BEM) simulates the characteristic deformation patterns caused by a sill-like source and a ring-fault. Our results show that the volcano-wide broad deflation is primarily caused by the emptying of the deep magma reservoir, whereas the localized deformation on the caldera floor is related to ring-faulting at a shallower depth. The architecture of the ring-fault to a large extent determines the deformation localization on the surface. Since series evidence for ring-faulting at several volcanoes are provided, we highlight that it is vital to include ring-fault activity in numerical or analytical deformation source formulation. Ignoring the process of ring-faulting in models by using multiple point sources for various magma reservoirs will result in erroneous, thus meaningless estimates of depth and volume change of the magmatic reservoir(s).
  • Parameterization analysis and inversion for orthorhombic media

    Masmoudi, Nabil (2018-05) [Dissertation]
    Advisor: Alkhalifah, Tariq Ali
    Committee members: Hoteit, Ibrahim; Feki, Saber; Peter, Daniel; Stovas, Alexey
    Accounting for azimuthal anisotropy is necessary for the processing and inversion of wide-azimuth and wide-aperture seismic data because wave speeds naturally depend on the wave propagation direction. Orthorhombic anisotropy is considered the most effective anisotropic model that approximates the azimuthal anisotropy we observe in seismic data. In the framework of full wave form inversion (FWI), the large number of parameters describing orthorhombic media exerts a considerable trade-off and increases the non-linearity of the inversion problem. Choosing a suitable parameterization for the model, and identifying which parameters in that parameterization could be well resolved, are essential to a successful inversion. In this thesis, I derive the radiation patterns for different acoustic orthorhombic parameterization. Analyzing the angular dependence of the scattering of the parameters of different parameterizations starting with the conventionally used notation, I assess the potential trade-off between the parameters and the resolution in describing the data and inverting for the parameters. In order to build practical inversion strategies, I suggest new parameters (called deviation parameters) for a new parameterization style in orthorhombic media. The novel parameters denoted ∈d, ƞd and δd are dimensionless and represent a measure of deviation between the vertical planes in orthorhombic anisotropy. The main feature of the deviation parameters consists of keeping the scattering of the vertical transversely isotropic (VTI) parameters stationary with azimuth. Using these scattering features, we can condition FWI to invert for the parameters which the data are sensitive to, at different stages, scales, and locations in the model. With this parameterization, the data are mainly sensitive to the scattering of 3 parameters (out of six that describe an acoustic orthorhombic medium): the horizontal velocity in the x1 direction, ∈1 which provides scattering mainly near the zero offset in the x1-x3 vertical plane, and ∈d, which is the ratio of the horizontal velocity squared in the x1 and x2 direction. Since, with this parameterization, the radiation pattern for the horizontal velocity is azimuth independent, we can perform an initial VTI inversion for two parameters (velocity and ∈1), then use ∈d to fit the azimuth variation in the data. This can be done at the reservoir level or any region of the model.
  • Seismic Imaging and Velocity Analysis Using a Pseudo Inverse to the Extended Born Approximation

    Alali, Abdullah A. (2018-05) [Thesis]
    Advisor: Alkhalifah, Tariq Ali
    Committee members: Peter, Daniel; Knio, Omar
    Prestack depth migration requires an accurate kinematic velocity model to image the subsurface correctly. Wave equation migration velocity analysis techniques aim to update the background velocity model by minimizing image residuals to achieve the correct model. The most commonly used technique is differential semblance optimization (DSO), which depends on applying an image extension and penalizing the energy in the non-physical extension. However, studies show that the conventional DSO gradient is contaminated with artifact noise and unwanted oscillations which might lead to local minima. To deal with this issue and improve the stability of DSO, recent studies proposed to use an inversion formula rather than migration to obtain the image. Migration is defined as the adjoint of Born modeling. Since the inversion is complicated and expensive, a pseudo inverse is used instead. A pseudo inverse formula has been developed recently for the horizontal space shift extended Born. This formula preserves the true amplitude and reduces the artifact noise even when an incorrect velocity is used. Although the theory for such an inverse is well developed, it has only been derived and tested on laterally homogeneous models. This is because the formula contains a derivative of the image with respect to a vertical extension evaluated at zero offset. Implementing the vertical extension is computationally expensive, which means this derivative needs to be computed without applying the additional extension. For laterally invariant models, the inverse is simplified and this derivative is eliminated. I implement the full asymptotic inverse to the extended Born to account for laterally heterogeneity. I compute the derivative of the image with respect to a vertical extension without performing any additional shift. This is accomplished by applying the derivative to the imaging condition and utilizing the chain rule. The fact that this derivative is evaluated at zero offset vertical extension, makes it possible to compute the derivative without applying the extension. I also verify the newly proposed inversion formula on a laterally variant velocity model. In addition, I test the effect of the computed derivative and compare its contribution with the full formula. This additional term has overall limited influence on conventional images. Its largest impact is on vertical reflectors such as salt flanks, granted the velocity is varying laterally in the background as often is in this case. Otherwise, for most applications, we can obtain good quality extended images without this additional term.
  • A Fault-Tolerant HPC Scheduler Extension for Large and Operational Ensemble Data Assimilation:Application to the Red Sea

    Toye, Habib; Kortas, Samuel; Zhan, Peng; Hoteit, Ibrahim (Journal of Computational Science, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-26) [Article]
    A fully parallel ensemble data assimilation and forecasting system has been developed for the Red Sea based on the MIT general circulation model (MITgcm) to simulate the Red Sea circulation and the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) ensemble assimilation software. An important limitation of operational ensemble assimilation systems is the risk of ensemble members’ collapse. This could happen in those situations when the filter update step imposes large corrections on one, or more, of the forecasted ensemble members that are not fully consistent with the model physics. Increasing the ensemble size is expected to improve the assimilation system performances, but obviously increases the risk of members’ collapse. Hardware failure or slow numerical convergence encountered for some members should also occur more frequently. In this context, the manual steering of the whole process appears as a real challenge and makes the implementation of the ensemble assimilation procedure uneasy and extremely time consuming.This paper presents our efforts to build an efficient and fault-tolerant MITgcm-DART ensemble assimilation system capable of operationally running thousands of members. Built on top of Decimate, a scheduler extension developed to ease the submission, monitoring and dynamic steering of workflow of dependent jobs in a fault-tolerant environment, we describe the assimilation system implementation and discuss in detail its coupling strategies. Within Decimate, only a few additional lines of Python is needed to define flexible convergence criteria and to implement any necessary actions to the forecast ensemble members, as for instance (i) restarting faulty job in case of job failure, (ii) changing the random seed in case of poor convergence or numerical instability, (iii) adjusting (reducing or increasing) the number of parallel forecasts on the fly, (iv) replacing members on the fly to enrich the ensemble with new members, etc.We demonstrate the efficiency of the system with numerical experiments assimilating real satellites sea surface height and temperature observations in the Red Sea.
  • Numerical approximation of a binary fluid-surfactant phase field model of two-phase incompressible flow

    Zhu, Guangpu; Kou, Jisheng; Sun, Shuyu; Yao, Jun; Li, Aifen (arXiv, 2018-04-17) [Preprint]
    In this paper, we consider the numerical approximation of a binary fluid-surfactant phase field model of two-phase incompressible flow. The nonlinearly coupled model consists of two Cahn-Hilliard type equations and incompressible Navier-Stokes equations. Using the Invariant Energy Quadratization (IEQ) approach, the governing system is transformed into an equivalent form, which allows the nonlinear potentials to be treated efficiently and semi-explicitly. we construct a first and a second-order time marching schemes, which are extremely efficient and easy-to-implement, for the transformed governing system. At each time step, the schemes involve solving a sequence of linear elliptic equations, and computations of phase variables, velocity and pressure are totally decoupled. We further establish a rigorous proof of unconditional energy stability for the semi-implicit schemes. Numerical results in both two and three dimensions are obtained, which demonstrate that the proposed schemes are accurate, efficient and unconditionally energy stable. Using our schemes, we investigate the effect of surfactants on droplet deformation and collision under a shear flow. The increase of surfactant concentration can enhance droplet deformation and inhibit droplet coalescence.
  • Bayesian hierarchical model for variations in earthquake peak ground acceleration within small-aperture arrays

    Rahpeyma, Sahar; Halldorsson, Benedikt; Hrafnkelsson, Birgir; Jonsson, Sigurjon (Environmetrics, Wiley, 2018-04-17) [Article]
    Knowledge of the characteristics of earthquake ground motion is fundamental for earthquake hazard assessments. Over small distances, relative to the source–site distance, where uniform site conditions are expected, the ground motion variability is also expected to be insignificant. However, despite being located on what has been characterized as a uniform lava‐rock site condition, considerable peak ground acceleration (PGA) variations were observed on stations of a small‐aperture array (covering approximately 1 km2) of accelerographs in Southwest Iceland during the Ölfus earthquake of magnitude 6.3 on May 29, 2008 and its sequence of aftershocks. We propose a novel Bayesian hierarchical model for the PGA variations accounting separately for earthquake event effects, station effects, and event‐station effects. An efficient posterior inference scheme based on Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations is proposed for the new model. The variance of the station effect is certainly different from zero according to the posterior density, indicating that individual station effects are different from one another. The Bayesian hierarchical model thus captures the observed PGA variations and quantifies to what extent the source and recording sites contribute to the overall variation in ground motions over relatively small distances on the lava‐rock site condition.
  • Earthquake Recurrence and the Resolution Potential of Tectono‐Geomorphic Records

    Zielke, Olaf (Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Seismological Society of America (SSA), 2018-04-17) [Article]
    A long‐standing debate in active tectonics addresses how slip is accumulated through space and time along a given fault or fault section. This debate is in part still ongoing because of the lack of sufficiently long instrumental data that may constrain the recurrence characteristics of surface‐rupturing earthquakes along individual faults. Geomorphic and stratigraphic records are used instead to constrain this behavior. Although geomorphic data frequently indicate slip accumulation via quasicharacteristic same‐size offset increments, stratigraphic data indicate that earthquake timing observes a quasirandom distribution. Assuming that both observations are valid within their respective frameworks, I want to address here which recurrence model is able to reproduce this seemingly contradictory behavior. I further want to address how aleatory offset variability and epistemic measurement uncertainty affect our ability to resolve single‐earthquake surface slip and along‐fault slip‐accumulation patterns. I use a statistical model that samples probability density functions (PDFs) for geomorphic marker formation (storm events), marker displacement (surface‐rupturing earthquakes), and offset measurement, generating tectono‐geomorphic catalogs to investigate which PDF combination consistently reproduces the above‐mentioned field observations. Doing so, I find that neither a purely characteristic earthquake (CE) nor a Gutenberg–Richter (GR) earthquake recurrence model is able to consistently reproduce those field observations. A combination of both however, with moderate‐size earthquakes following the GR model and large earthquakes following the CE model, is able to reproduce quasirandom earthquake recurrence times while simultaneously generating quasicharacteristic geomorphic offset increments. Along‐fault slip accumulation is dominated by, but not exclusively linked to, the occurrence of similar‐size large earthquakes. Further, the resolution potential of tectono‐geomorphic records is dominantly affected by measurement uncertainty, that is, by the ability to correctly infer a geomorphic marker’s pre‐earthquake(s) morphology. Typically reported values for measurement uncertainty suggest that it is improbable to resolve more than five large earthquakes from tectono‐geomorphic records.
  • Pure Quasi-P-wave calculation in transversely isotropic media using a hybrid method

    Wu, Zedong; Liu, Hongwei; Alkhalifah, Tariq Ali (Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-04-12) [Article]
    The acoustic approximation for anisotropic media is widely used in current industry imaging and inversion algorithms mainly because P-waves constitute the majority of the energy recorded in seismic exploration. The resulting acoustic formulas tend to be simpler, resulting in more efficient implementations, and depend on fewer medium parameters. However, conventional solutions of the acoustic wave equation with higher-order derivatives suffer from shear wave artifacts. Thus, we derive a new acoustic wave equation for wave propagation in transversely isotropic (TI) media, which is based on a partially separable approximation of the dispersion relation for TI media and free of shear wave artifacts. Even though our resulting equation is not a partial differential equation, it is still a linear equation. Thus, we propose to implement this equation efficiently by combining the finite difference approximation with spectral evaluation of the space-independent parts. The resulting algorithm provides solutions without the constrain of ε ≥ δ. Numerical tests demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.
  • A highly accurate finite-difference method with minimum dispersion error for solving the Helmholtz equation

    Wu, Zedong; Alkhalifah, Tariq Ali (Journal of Computational Physics, Elsevier BV, 2018-04-05) [Article]
    Numerical simulation of the acoustic wave equation in either isotropic or anisotropic media is crucial to seismic modeling, imaging and inversion. Actually, it represents the core computation cost of these highly advanced seismic processing methods. However, the conventional finite-difference method suffers from severe numerical dispersion errors and S-wave artifacts when solving the acoustic wave equation for anisotropic media. We propose a method to obtain the finite-difference coefficients by comparing its numerical dispersion with the exact form. We find the optimal finite difference coefficients that share the dispersion characteristics of the exact equation with minimal dispersion error. The method is extended to solve the acoustic wave equation in transversely isotropic (TI) media without S-wave artifacts. Numerical examples show that the method is is highly accurate and efficient.

    Lei, L.; Santamarina, Carlos (Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2018-04-02) [Article]
    Fine‐grained sediments limit hydrate nucleation, shift the phase boundary and hinder gas supply. Laboratory experiments in this study explore different strategies to overcome these challenges, including the use of a more soluble guest molecule rather than methane, grain‐scale gas‐storage within porous diatoms, ice‐to‐hydrate transformation to grow lenses at predefined locations, forced gas injection into water saturated sediments, and long‐term guest molecule transport. Tomographic images, thermal and pressure data provide rich information on hydrate formation and morphology. Results show that hydrate formation is inherently displacive in fine‐grained sediments; lenses are thicker and closer to each other in compressible, high specific surface area sediments subjected to low effective stress. Temperature and pressure trajectories follow a shifted phase boundary that is consistent with capillary effects. Exo‐pore growth results in freshly formed hydrate with a striped and porous structure; this open structure becomes an effective pathway for gas transport to the growing hydrate front. Ice‐to‐hydrate transformation goes through a liquid stage at pre‐melt temperatures; then, capillarity and cryogenic suction compete, and some water becomes imbibed into the sediment faster than hydrate reformation. The geometry of hydrate lenses and the internal hydrate structure continue evolving long after the exothermal response to hydrate formation has completely decayed. Multiple time‐dependent processes occur during hydrate formation, including gas, water and heat transport, sediment compressibility, reaction rate and the stochastic nucleation process. Hydrate formation strategies conceived for this study highlight the inherent difficulties in emulating hydrate formation in fine‐grained sediments within the relatively short time‐scale available for laboratory experiments.
  • Properties, Mechanisms and Predictability of Eddies in the Red Sea

    Zhan, Peng (2018-04) [Dissertation]
    Advisor: Hoteit, Ibrahim
    Committee members: Cornuelle, Bruce D/; Knio, Omar M.; Jones, Burton
    Eddies are one of the key features of the Red Sea circulation. They are not only crucial for energy conversion among dynamics at different scales, but also for materials transport across the basin. This thesis focuses on studying the characteristics of Red Sea eddies, including their temporal and spatial properties, their energy budget, the mechanisms of their evolution, and their predictability. Remote sensing data, in-situ observations, the oceanic general circulation model, and data assimilation techniques were employed in this thesis. The eddies in the Red Sea were first identified using altimeter data by applying an improved winding-angle method, based on which the statistical properties of those eddies were derived. The results suggested that eddies occur more frequently in the central basin of the Red Sea and exhibit a significant seasonal variation. The mechanisms of the eddies’ evolution, particularly the eddy kinetic energy budget, were then investigated based on the outputs of a long-term eddy resolving numerical model configured for the Red Sea with realistic forcing. Examination of the energy budget revealed that the eddies acquire the vast majority of kinetic energy through conversion of eddy available potential energy via baroclinic instability, which is intensified during winter. The possible factors modulating the behavior of the several observed eddies in the Red Sea were then revealed by conducting a sensitivity analysis using the adjoint model. These eddies were found to exhibit different sensitivities to external forcings, suggesting different mechanisms for their evolution. This is the first known adjoint sensitivity study on specific eddy events in the Red Sea and was hitherto not previously appreciated. The last chapter examines the predictability of Red Sea eddies using an ensemble-based forecasting and assimilation system. The forecast sea surface height was used to evaluate the overall performance of the short-term eddy predictability. Different ensemble sampling schemes were implemented, and the investigation among different schemes is followed by a discussion of performance and challenges based on the results of a case study. The thesis not only enhances understanding of the Red Sea dynamics, but also deepens knowledge of the physical-biological and air-sea interactions within the basin. Further, it is a stepping stone to building a robust regional operational system with refined forecasting skills.
  • Impact of Tropical Volcanic Eruptions on Hadley Circulation Using a High-Resolution AGCM

    Dogar, Muhammad Mubashar (Current Science, Current Science Association, 2018-03-31) [Article]
    The direct radiative effects of volcanic eruptions resulting in solar dimming, stratospheric warming, global surface cooling and reduction in rainfall are well documented. However, eruptions also cause indirect climatic impacts that are not well understood. For example, solar dimming induced by volcanic aerosols could cause changes in tropical Hadley circulation that in turn largely affect evaporation and precipitation patterns. Therefore, understanding the sensitivity of HC to volcanism is essential, as this circulation is directly related to precipitation changes in the tropics and with other large-scale circulations. Hence, to better understand the post-eruption sensitivity of HC and associated changes in the hydrologic cycle, simulations for the El Chichón and Pinatubo tropical eruptions were conducted using a high-resolution atmospheric model (HIRAM), effectively at 25 and 50 km grid spacing. The model simulated results are then compared with observational and reanalysis products. Both the model and observational analysis show posteruption weakening, shrinking and equatorward displacement of the updraft branch of HC caused by the equatorward shift of midlatitude jets and hemispheric land-sea thermal gradient. The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is tightly coupled to the rising branch of HC, hence, post-eruption weakening and equatorward displacement of HC cause weakening of ITCZ that adversely affects rainfall distribution in the monsoon-fed regions, especially the South Asian and African tropical rain-belt regions. The modelproduced post-eruption distribution of cloud contents suggests a southward shift of ITCZ. The HIRAM results are largely in agreement with the reanalysis, observations and previous studies indicating that this model performs reasonably well in reproducing the global and regional-scale dynamic changes caused by volcanic radiative forcing.
  • Solvable Model for Dynamic Mass Transport in Disordered Geophysical Media

    Marder, M.; Eftekhari, Behzad; Patzek, Tadeusz (Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society (APS), 2018-03-29) [Article]
    We present an analytically solvable model for transport in geophysical materials on large length and time scales. It describes the flow of gas to a complicated absorbing boundary over long periods of time. We find a solution to this model using Green's function techniques, and apply the solution to three absorbing networks of increasing complexity.
  • Micro-seismic imaging using a source function independent full waveform inversion method

    Wang, Hanchen; Alkhalifah, Tariq Ali (Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-03-26) [Article]
    At the heart of micro-seismic event measurements is the task to estimate the location of the source micro-seismic events, as well as their ignition times. The accuracy of locating the sources is highly dependent on the velocity model. On the other hand, the conventional micro-seismic source locating methods require, in many cases manual picking of traveltime arrivals, which do not only lead to manual effort and human interaction, but also prone to errors. Using full waveform inversion (FWI) to locate and image micro-seismic events allows for an automatic process (free of picking) that utilizes the full wavefield. However, full waveform inversion of micro-seismic events faces incredible nonlinearity due to the unknown source locations (space) and functions (time). We developed a source function independent full waveform inversion of micro-seismic events to invert for the source image, source function and the velocity model. It is based on convolving reference traces with these observed and modeled to mitigate the effect of an unknown source ignition time. The adjoint-state method is used to derive the gradient for the source image, source function and velocity updates. The extended image for the source wavelet in Z axis is extracted to check the accuracy of the inverted source image and velocity model. Also, angle gathers is calculated to assess the quality of the long wavelength component of the velocity model. By inverting for the source image, source wavelet and the velocity model simultaneously, the proposed method produces good estimates of the source location, ignition time and the background velocity for synthetic examples used here, like those corresponding to the Marmousi model and the SEG/EAGE overthrust model.
  • Multiparameter Elastic Full Waveform Inversion with Facies-based Constraints

    Zhang, Zhendong; Alkhalifah, Tariq Ali; Naeini, Ehsan Zabihi; Sun, Bingbing (Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-03-20) [Article]
    Full waveform inversion (FWI) incorporates all the data characteristics to estimate the parameters described by the assumed physics of the subsurface. However, current efforts to utilize full waveform inversion beyond improved acoustic imaging, like in reservoir delineation, faces inherent challenges related to the limited resolution and the potential trade-off between the elastic model parameters. Some anisotropic parameters are insufficiently updated because of their minor contributions to the surface collected data. Adding rock physics constraints to the inversion helps mitigate such limited sensitivity, but current approaches to add such constraints are based on including them as a priori knowledge mostly valid around the well or as a global constraint for the whole area. Since similar rock formations inside the Earth admit consistent elastic properties and relative values of elasticity and anisotropy parameters (this enables us to define them as a seismic facies), utilizing such localized facies information in FWI can improve the resolution of inverted parameters. We propose a novel approach to use facies-based constraints in both isotropic and anisotropic elastic FWI. We invert for such facies using Bayesian theory and update them at each iteration of the inversion using both the inverted models and a prior information. We take the uncertainties of the estimated parameters (approximated by radiation patterns) into consideration and improve the quality of estimated facies maps. Four numerical examples corresponding to different acquisition, physical assumptions and model circumstances are used to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method.

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