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River flow time series prediction with a range-dependent neural network

HU, T. S., LAM, K. C., NG, S. T.
Hydrological sciences journal 2001 v.46 no.5 pp. 729-745
algorithms, case studies, hydrologic data, neural networks, prediction, river flow, stream flow, time series analysis, watersheds, China
Artificial neural networks provide a promising alternative to hydrological time series modelling. However, there are still many fundamental problems requiring further analyses, such as structure identification, parameter estimation, generalization, performance improvement, etc. Based on a proposed clustering algorithm for the training pairs, a new neural network, namely the range-dependent neural network (RDNN) has been developed for better accuracy in hydrological time series prediction. The applicability and potentials of the RDNN in daily streamflow and annual reservoir inflow prediction are examined using data from two watersheds in China. Empirical comparisons of the predictive accuracy, in terms of the model efficiency R2 and absolute relative errors (ARE), between the RDNN, back-propagation (BP) networks and the threshold auto-regressive (TAR) model are made. The case studies demonstrated that the RDNN network performed significantly better than the BP network, especially for reproducing low-flow events.