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Hydrogeologists and engineers engrossed in developing and applying ground water models tend to represent the results of their work as “the answer”, a “highly probable solution” or a “reasonable possibility”. These various views are often based on the strengths of the calibration procedure. We propose that ground water models are inherently uncertain and that model verification (truth has been demonstrated) is unobtainable. Acceptability of ground water models should be determined by using confirming observations to support a subjective judgement. The judgement is made in the context of the stated purpose of the model and the nature of the supporting observations associated with each component of the modeling process.
ground water modeling, confirming observations, subjective judgement
Professor, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.
Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI