Sensitivity analysis of an urban stormwater microorganism model

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This paper presents the sensitivity analysis of a newly developed model which predicts microorganism concentrations in urban stormwater (MOPUS—MicroOrganism Prediction in Urban Stormwater). The analysis used Escherichia coli data collected from four urban catchments in Melbourne, Australia. The MICA program (Model Independent Markov Chain Monte Carlo Analysis), used to conduct this analysis, applies a carefully constructed Markov Chain Monte Carlo procedure, based on the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, to explore the model's posterior parameter distribution. It was determined that the majority of parameters in the MOPUS model were well defined, with the data from the MCMC procedure indicating that the parameters were largely independent. However, a sporadic correlation found between two parameters indicates that some improvements may be possible in the MOPUS model. This paper identifies the parameters which are the most important during model calibration; it was shown, for example, that parameters associated with the deposition of microorganisms in the catchment were more influential than those related to microorganism survival processes. These findings will help users calibrate the MOPUS model, and will help the model developer to improve the model, with efforts currently being made to reduce the number of model parameters, whilst also reducing the slight interaction identified.

Keywords: E. coli, MICA, MOPUS, uncertainty

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