Towards real-time monitoring: Data assimilated time-lapse full waveform inversion for seismic velocity and uncertainty estimation

Chao Huang, Tieyuan Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Rapid development of time-lapse seismic monitoring instrumentations has made it possible to collect dense time-lapse data for tomographically retrieving time-lapse (even continuous) images of subsurface changes. While traditional time-lapse full waveform inversion (TLFWI) algorithms are designed for sparse time-lapse surveys, they lack of effective temporal constraint on time-lapse data, and, more importantly, lack of the uncertainty estimation of the TLFWI results that is critical for further interpretation. Here, we propose a new data assimilation TLFWI method, using hierarchical matrix powered extended Kalman filter (HiEKF) to quantify the image uncertainty. Compared to existing Kalman filter algorithms, HiEKF allows to store and update a data-sparse representation of the cross-covariance matrices and propagate model errors without expensive operations involving covariance matrices. Hence, HiEKF is computationally efficient and applicable to 3-D TLFWI problems. Then, we reformulate TLFWI in the framework of HiEKF (termed hereafter as TLFWI-HiEKF) to predict time-lapse images of subsurface spatiotemporal velocity changes and simultaneously quantify the uncertainty of the inverted velocity changes over time. We demonstrate the validity and applicability of TLFWI-HiEKF with two realistic CO2 monitoring models derived from Frio-II and Cranfield CO2 injection sites, respectively. In both 2-D and 3-D examples, the inverted high-resolution time-lapse velocity results clearly reveal a continuous velocity reduction due to the injection of CO2. Moreover, the accuracy of the model is increasing over time by assimilating more time-lapse data while the standard deviation is decreasing over lapsed time. We expect TLFWI-HiEKF to be equipped with real-time seismic monitoring systems for continuously imaging the distribution of subsurface gas and fluids in the future large-scale CO2 sequestration experiments and reservoir management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-824
Number of pages14
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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