The Dutch continental shelf model (DCSM) is a shallow sea model of entire continental shelf which is used operationally in the Netherlands to forecast the storm surges in the North Sea. The forecasts are necessary to support the decision of the timely closure of the moveable storm surge barriers to protect the land. In this study, an automated model calibration method, simultaneous perturbation stochastic approximation (SPSA) is implemented for tidal calibration of the DCSM. The method uses objective function evaluations to obtain the gradient approximations. The gradient approximation for the central difference method uses only two objective function evaluation independent of the number of parameters being optimized. The calibration parameter in this study is the model bathymetry. A number of calibration experiments is performed. The effectiveness of the algorithm is evaluated in terms of the accuracy of the final results as well as the computational costs required to produce these results. In doing so, comparison is made with a traditional steepest descent method and also with a newly developed proper orthogonal decompositionbased calibration method. The main findings are: (1) The SPSA method gives comparable results to steepest descent method with little computational cost. (2) The SPSA method with little computational cost can be used to estimate large number of parameters.
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