DOI: 10.3390/jmse11081608 ISSN:

Temporal Prediction of Coastal Water Quality Based on Environmental Factors with Machine Learning

Junan Lin, Qianqian Liu, Yang Song, Jiting Liu, Yixue Yin, Nathan S. Hall
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

The accurate forecast of algal blooms can provide helpful information for water resource management. However, the complex relationship between environmental variables and blooms makes the forecast challenging. In this study, we build a pipeline incorporating four commonly used machine learning models, Support Vector Regression (SVR), Random Forest Regression (RFR), Wavelet Analysis (WA)-Back Propagation Neural Network (BPNN) and WA-Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM), to predict chlorophyll-a in coastal waters. Two areas with distinct environmental features, the Neuse River Estuary, NC, USA—where machine learning models are applied for short-term algal bloom forecast at single stations for the first time—and the Scripps Pier, CA, USA, are selected. Applying the pipeline, we can easily switch from the NRE forecast to the Scripps Pier forecast with minimum model tuning. The pipeline successfully predicts the occurrence of algal blooms in both regions, with more robustness using WA-LSTM and WA-BPNN than SVR and RFR. The pipeline allows us to find the best results by trying different numbers of neuron hidden layers. The pipeline is easily adaptable to other coastal areas. Experience with the two study regions demonstrated that enrichment of the dataset by including dominant physical processes is necessary to improve chlorophyll prediction when applying it to other aquatic systems.

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