Parameter estimation for energy balance models with memory


Roques, Lionel, Mickaël D. Chekroun, Michel Cristofol, Samuel Soubeyrand, and Michael Ghil. “Parameter estimation for energy balance models with memory.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 470, no. 2169 (2014).


We study parameter estimation for one-dimensional energy balance models with memory (EBMMs) given localized and noisy temperature measurements. Our results apply to a wide range of nonlinear, parabolic partial differential equations with integral memory terms. First, we show that a space-dependent parameter can be determined uniquely everywhere in the PDE’s domain of definition D, using only temperature information in a small subdomain E⊂D. This result is valid only when the data correspond to exact measurements of the temperature. We propose a method for estimating a model parameter of the EBMM using more realistic, error-contaminated temperature data derived, for example, from ice cores or marine-sediment cores. Our approach is based on a so-called mechanistic-statistical model that combines a deterministic EBMM with a statistical model of the observation process. Estimating a parameter in this setting is especially challenging, because the observation process induces a strong loss of information. Aside from the noise contained in past temperature measurements, an additional error is induced by the age-dating method, whose accuracy tends to decrease with a sample’s remoteness in time. Using a Bayesian approach, we show that obtaining an accurate parameter estimate is still possible in certain cases.