Application of Genetic Programing to Develop a Modular Model for the Simulation of Stream Flow Time Series

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Ali Meshgi1, Vladan Babovic1, Ting Fong May Chui2 and Petra Schmitter3, (1)National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore, (2)The University of Hong Kong, Department of Civil Engineering, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, (3)The International Water Management Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Developing reliable methods to estimate stream flow has been a subject of interest due to its importance in planning, design and management of water resources within a basin. Machine learning tools such as Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Genetic Programming (GP) have been widely applied for rainfall-runoff modeling as they require less computational time as compared to physically-based models. As GP is able to generate a function with understandable structure, it may offer advantages over other data driven techniques and therefore has been used in different studies to generate rainfall-runoff functions. However, to date, proposed formulations only contain rainfall and/or streamflow data and consequently are local and cannot be generalized and adopted in other catchments which have different physical characteristics. This study investigated the capability of GP in developing a physically interpretable model with understandable structure to simulate stream flow based on hydrological parameters (e.g. precipitation) and catchment conditions (e.g., initial groundwater table elevation and area of the catchment) by following a modular approach. The modular model resulted in two sub-models where the baseflow was first predicted and the direct runoff was then estimated for a semi-urban catchment in Singapore. The simulated results matched very well with observed data in both the training and the testing of data sets, giving NSEs of 0.97 and 0.96 respectively demonstrated the successful estimation of stream flow using the modular model derived in this study. The results of this study indicate that GP is an effective tool in developing a physically interpretable model with understandable structure to simulate stream flow that can be transferred to other catchments.