The research described in this article investigates the utility of Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) for short term forecasting of streamflow. The work explores the capabilities of ANNs and compares the performance of this tool to conventional approaches used to forecast streamflow. Several issues associated with the use of an ANN are examined including the type of input data and the number, and the size of hidden layer(s) to be included in the network. Perceived strengths of ANNs are the capability for representing complex, non-linear relationships as well as being able to model interaction effects. The application of the ANN approach is to a portion of the Winnipeg River system in Northwest Ontario, Canada. Forecasting was conducted on a catchment area of approximately 20 000 km 2 . using quarter monthly time intervals. The results were most promising. A very close fit was obtained during the calibration (training) phase and the ANNs developed consistently outperformed a conventional model during the verification (testing) phase for all of the four forecast lead-times. The average improvement in the root mean squared error (RMSE) for the 8 years of test data varied from 5 cms in the four time step ahead forecasts to 12.1 cms in the two time step ahead forecasts.
Journal of Hydrology – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 1999
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