J. J. Fang, Linshan Yang, Xiaohu Wen, Weide Li, Haijiao Yu, Ting Zhou

A deep learning-based hybrid approach for multi-time-ahead streamflow prediction in an arid region of Northwest China

  • Water Science and Technology

Abstract Accurate streamflow prediction is crucial for effective water resource management. However, reliable prediction remains a considerable challenge because of the highly complex, non-stationary, and non-linear processes that contribute to streamflow at various spatial and temporal scales. In this study, we utilized a convolutional neural network (CNN)–Transformer–Long short-term memory (LSTM) (CTL) model for streamflow prediction, which replaced the embedding layer with a CNN layer to extract partial hidden features, and added a LSTM layer to extract correlations on a temporal scale. The CTL model incorporated Transformer's ability to extract global information, CNN's ability to extract hidden features, and LSTM's ability to capture temporal correlations. To validate its effectiveness, we applied it for streamflow prediction in the Shule River basin in northwest China across 1-, 3-, and 6-month horizons and compared its performance with Transformer, CNN, LSTM, CNN–Transformer, and Transformer–LSTM. The results demonstrated that CTL outperformed all other models in terms of predictive accuracy with Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient (NSE) values of 0.964, 0.912, and 0.856 for 1-, 3-, 6-month ahead prediction. The best results among the five comparative models were 0.908, 0.824, and 0.778, respectively. This indicated that CTL is an outstanding alternative technique for streamflow prediction where surface data are limited.

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