The final of the 2015-16 Water Institute WaterTalks lecturers is Dr. Prabhakar Clement, Harold Vince Groome Professor of Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Auburn University.
Dr. Clement's lecture is titled: Worthiness of complex groundwater models for decision making - When should we say enough is enough?
Complex mathematical models are routinely used by groundwater hydrologists to predict contaminant concentration levels in polluted aquifers. These predictions are then used in risk-assessment and epidemiological studies, which are often completed either for resolving a court case or for developing a public-policy solution. Typical groundwater modeling studies utilize a variety of mathematical models with complexity levels ranging from simple analytical solutions to detailed three-dimensional numerical solutions that simulate multi-phase, multi-species, reactive transport systems. The goal of this discussion is to explore the value of using complex numerical models to resolve large, field-scale, practical problems that have limited data. I will review a chlorinated solvent contamination problem that occurred at a military site in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and will use it as an example to explore the limits of complex numerical modeling exercises. The lessons learned from the study will be used to reflect upon the following two questions related to model complexity: How should we decide how much is enough? Who should decide when enough is enough?
About Dr. Clement
T. Prabhakar Clement is currently the Harold Vince Groome Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at Auburn University. He previously worked at the Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Western Australia for 3 years (2000-2002), and at the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Washington for 7 years (1994-2000). Dr. Clement is the lead author of the widely used MODFLOW-family groundwater model RT3D. He has authored over 85 journal articles with an H-index of 23; he is an elected ASCE Fellow. He has served as associate editor for several leading environmental journals including Water Resources Research, and has served on several National Academy and NSF panels.
For those unable to attend the lecture in person, it will also be available via livestream during and after the lecture.