Application of the adjoint approach to optimise the initial conditions of a turbidity current with the AdjointTurbidity 1.0 model

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Title: Application of the adjoint approach to optimise the initial conditions of a turbidity current with the AdjointTurbidity 1.0 model
Authors: Parkinson, PD
Funke, SW
Hill, J
Piggott, MD
Allison, PA
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Turbidity currents are one of the main drivers of sediment transport from the continental shelf to the deep ocean. The resulting sediment deposits can reach hundreds of kilometres into the ocean. Computer models that simulate turbidity currents and the resulting sediment deposit can help us to understand their general behaviour. However, in order to recreate real-world scenarios, the challenge is to find the turbidity current parameters that reproduce the observations of sediment deposits. This paper demonstrates a solution to the inverse sediment transportation problem: for a known sedimentary deposit, the developed model reconstructs details about the turbidity cur- rent that produced the deposit. The reconstruction is con- strained here by a shallow water sediment-laden density cur- rent model, which is discretised by the finite-element method and an adaptive time-stepping scheme. The model is differ- entiated using the adjoint approach, and an efficient gradient- based optimisation method is applied to identify the turbidity parameters which minimise the misfit between the modelled and the observed field sediment deposits. The capabilities of this approach are demonstrated using measurements taken in the Miocene Marnoso-arenacea Formation (Italy). We find that whilst the model cannot match the deposit exactly due to limitations in the physical processes simulated, it provides valuable insights into the depositional processes and repre- sents a significant advance in our toolset for interpreting tur- bidity current deposits.
Issue Date: 7-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance: 8-Feb-2017
ISSN: 1991-9603
Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU)
Start Page: 1051
End Page: 1068
Journal / Book Title: Geoscientific Model Development
Volume: 10
Copyright Statement: © Author(s) 2017. CC-BY Attribution 3.0 License (
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/K000047/1
Keywords: 04 Earth Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering
Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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