The role of the range parameter for estimation and prediction in geostatistics

C. G. Kaufman, B. A. Shaby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Two canonical problems in geostatistics are estimating the parameters in a specified family of stochastic process models and predicting the process at new locations. We show that asymptotic results for a Gaussian process over a fixed domain with Matérn covariance function, previously proven only in the case of a fixed range parameter, can be extended to the case of jointly estimating the range and the variance of the process. Moreover, we show that intuition and approximations derived from asymptotics using a fixed range parameter can be problematic when applied to finite samples, even for large sample sizes. In contrast, we show via simulation that performance is improved and asymptotic approximations are applicable for smaller sample sizes when the parameters are jointly estimated. These effects are particularly apparent when the process is mean square differentiable or the effective range of spatial correlation is small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics


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