Before (and along) Modelling

The first part of the School is a kind of “modeller’s toolbox” that, in association with textbooks and papers, can provide some of the basics needed before engaging in numerical modelling. Even if extremely rich, the contents are not exhaustive – other specific topics can be added on request. All the courses are recorded and immediately available on the e-learning platform. The importance of getting back to the pillars of geology, hydrogeology and maths is surely clear, but it will be even clearer during the practical modelling exercises. Even if placed “before modelling”, this section is thought to be a companion along the whole School. Attendance of the courses is up to the individual, according to his/her own interests and personal background.

Groundwater Numerical Modelling

The central section of the School is dedicated to hydrogeological modeling, starting from the basic concepts up to the most advanced techniques of uncertainty analysis. The lessons are mainly held live and are divided into three modules.

The first module deals with data processing, geostatistics and basics of numerical modelling with MODFLOW 6 starting from scratch. It is intended to provide the necessary “bricks” needed to approach hydrogeological problems by means of numerical solutions. A specific session is devoted to the extraction of information with the maximum efficiency, which also includes a review of ICT basics, fundamental components of any modelling process.

The focus of the second module is advanced model building and calibration. The MODFLOW GUIs used in the exercises are Groundwater Vistas and ModelMuse, free interface from the USGS, in association with PEST(++). The Groundwater Vistas course is held by Daniel Feinstein who provides important insights about MODFLOW, as well as many other related codes, explaining in detail the nuances and settings of several packages. The theory behind history matching (“calibration”) is introduced by John Doherty, the author of PEST. The module concludes with two courses dealing with real-world problems to be discussed, conceptualized and developed by the attendees through the numerical model process.

The last module is fully dedicated to model calibration and uncertainty analysis through the use of the PEST suite, explained by the author of the code, John Doherty. The software used in the exercises cover the most recent and innovative approaches developed in the PEST and PEST ++ suites, available for free at the relative websites. A wide set of applications helps the understanding of sometimes complex concepts, making use of both GUIs and command line input. A real-world case is analysed to demonstrate data assimilation, uncertainty analysis and its application to decision-support modelling.

Modelling with Python

This advanced section is dedicated to the state-of-the-art Python scripting with FloPy and PyEMU explained by a team of experts among which the developers of the software Jeremy White (INTERA) and Mike Fienen (USGS). The section includes a short-course in programming with Python held by Iacopo Borsi (TEA Sistemi), to then cover the entire modeling process, from data processing and model construction, to calibration and uncertainty analysis. Codes involved are MODFLOW 6, MODPATH, PEST and PEST++ suites. Students are provided with a GitHub repository with necessary data files and executables. These also include a template Jupyter Notebook with instructions to follow along with the recorded videos. Completed notebooks are also provided with the results.