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Type: Journal article
Title: Empirical maximum likelihood kriging: The general case
Author: Pardo-Iguzquiza, E.
Dowd, P.
Citation: Mathematical Geosciences, 2005; 37(5):477-492
Publisher: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publ
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 1874-8961
Statement of
Eulogio Pardo-Igúzquiza and Peter A. Dowd
Abstract: Although linear kriging is a distribution-free spatial interpolator, its efficiency is maximal only when the experimental data follow a Gaussian distribution. Transformation of the data to normality has thus always been appealing. The idea is to transform the experimental data to normal scores, krige values in the “Gaussian domain” and then back-transform the estimates and uncertainty measures to the “original domain.” An additional advantage of the Gaussian transform is that spatial variability is easier to model from the normal scores because the transformation reduces effects of extreme values. There are, however, difficulties with this methodology, particularly, choosing the transformation to be used and back-transforming the estimates in such a way as to ensure that the estimation is conditionally unbiased. The problem has been solved for cases in which the experimental data follow some particular type of distribution. In general, however, it is not possible to verify distributional assumptions on the basis of experimental histograms calculated from relatively few data and where the uncertainty is such that several distributional models could fit equally well. For the general case, we propose an empirical maximum likelihood method in which transformation to normality is via the empirical probability distribution function. Although the Gaussian domain simple kriging estimate is identical to the maximum likelihood estimate, we propose use of the latter, in the form of a likelihood profile, to solve the problem of conditional unbiasedness in the back-transformed estimates. Conditional unbiasedness is achieved by adopting a Bayesian procedure in which the likelihood profile is the posterior distribution of the unknown value to be estimated and the mean of the posterior distribution is the conditionally unbiased estimate. The likelihood profile also provides several ways of assessing the uncertainty of the estimation. Point estimates, interval estimates, and uncertainty measures can be calculated from the posterior distribution.
Keywords: Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathmatical Sciences
geostatistics, spatial interpolation, maximum likelihood, Bayesian statistics, posterior distribution.
DOI: 10.1007/s11004-005-6665-4
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Civil and Environmental Engineering publications

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