An Application of the Theory of Maximum Entropy Production in Hydrology

Environmental Engineering Seminar Series

Featuring Jingfeng Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher, Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UC Irvine

Location:  Engineering Hall 2430 Colloquia Room
Free and open to the public

An emerging theory known as maximum entropy production (MEP) is introduced as a special case of the maximum entropy principle (MaxEnt). The MEP theory is a statistical method for making inference using incomplete information measured by the Shannon information entropy. An application of the MEP theory in hydrology is illustrated by providing an analytical solution of surface fluxes of ground and sensible heat over a dry soil. When the turbulent heat transfer in the atmospheric boundary layer is parameterized using a Monin-Obukhov similarity model, a dissipation function or entropy production function may be expressed in terms of the heat fluxes following the MEP formalism. A solution of the heat fluxes can be obtained by extremizing the dissipation function under the constraint of conservation of energy for a given energy input (i.e. net radiation) at the surface. The MEP solution of the surface heat fluxes are tested using observations from fields experiment with encouraging results. This study opens new possibilities of modeling land surface energy balance involving evapotranspiration.