linear and nonlinear
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2022 ◽  
Vol 124 ◽  
pp. 111955
Author(s):  
A.M. El-naggar ◽  
Mohamed Bakr Mohamed ◽  
Rawabi E. Alatawi ◽  
Zein K. Heiba ◽  
M.M. Osman ◽  
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Muhammad Usman Khan ◽  
Ataualpa Albert Carmo Braga ◽  
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2022 ◽  
Vol 26 (1) ◽  
pp. 129-148
Author(s):  
Johannes Laimighofer ◽  
Michael Melcher ◽  
Gregor Laaha

Abstract. Statistical learning methods offer a promising approach for low-flow regionalization. We examine seven statistical learning models (Lasso, linear, and nonlinear-model-based boosting, sparse partial least squares, principal component regression, random forest, and support vector regression) for the prediction of winter and summer low flow based on a hydrologically diverse dataset of 260 catchments in Austria. In order to produce sparse models, we adapt the recursive feature elimination for variable preselection and propose using three different variable ranking methods (conditional forest, Lasso, and linear model-based boosting) for each of the prediction models. Results are evaluated for the low-flow characteristic Q95 (Pr(Q>Q95)=0.95) standardized by catchment area using a repeated nested cross-validation scheme. We found a generally high prediction accuracy for winter (RCV2 of 0.66 to 0.7) and summer (RCV2 of 0.83 to 0.86). The models perform similarly to or slightly better than a top-kriging model that constitutes the current benchmark for the study area. The best-performing models are support vector regression (winter) and nonlinear model-based boosting (summer), but linear models exhibit similar prediction accuracy. The use of variable preselection can significantly reduce the complexity of all the models with only a small loss of performance. The so-obtained learning models are more parsimonious and thus easier to interpret and more robust when predicting at ungauged sites. A direct comparison of linear and nonlinear models reveals that nonlinear processes can be sufficiently captured by linear learning models, so there is no need to use more complex models or to add nonlinear effects. When performing low-flow regionalization in a seasonal climate, the temporal stratification into summer and winter low flows was shown to increase the predictive performance of all learning models, offering an alternative to catchment grouping that is recommended otherwise.


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