Water Resources Research

Spiking modular neural networks: A neural network modeling approach for hydrological processes



[1] Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) have been widely used for modeling hydrological processes that are embedded with high nonlinearity in both spatial and temporal scales. The input-output functional relationship does not remain the same over the entire modeling domain, varying at different spatial and temporal scales. In this study, a novel neural network model called the spiking modular neural networks (SMNNs) is proposed. An SMNN consists of an input layer, a spiking layer, and an associator neural network layer. The modular nature of the SMNN helps in finding domain-dependent relationships. The performance of the model is evaluated using two distinct case studies. The first case study is that of streamflow modeling, and the second case study involves modeling of eddy covariance-measured evapotranspiration. Two variants of SMNNs were analyzed in this study. The first variant employs a competitive layer as the spiking layer, and the second variant employs a self-organizing map as the spiking layer. The performance of SMNNs is compared to that of a regular feed forward neural network (FFNN) model. Results from the study demonstrate that SMNNs performed better than FFNNs for both the case studies. Results from partitioning analysis reveal that, compared to FFNNs, SMNNs are effective in capturing the dynamics of high flows. In modeling evapotranspiration, it is found that net radiation and ground temperature alone can be used to model the evaporation flux effectively. The SMNNs are shown to be effective in discretizing the complex mapping space into simpler domains that can be learned with relative ease.