Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Ground Water. 2014 May-Jun;52(3):448-60. doi: 10.1111/gwat.12061. Epub 2013 May 6.

Use of machine learning methods to reduce predictive error of groundwater models.

Author information

  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 61801.


Quantitative analyses of groundwater flow and transport typically rely on a physically-based model, which is inherently subject to error. Errors in model structure, parameter and data lead to both random and systematic error even in the output of a calibrated model. We develop complementary data-driven models (DDMs) to reduce the predictive error of physically-based groundwater models. Two machine learning techniques, the instance-based weighting and support vector regression, are used to build the DDMs. This approach is illustrated using two real-world case studies of the Republican River Compact Administration model and the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie model. The two groundwater models have different hydrogeologic settings, parameterization, and calibration methods. In the first case study, cluster analysis is introduced for data preprocessing to make the DDMs more robust and computationally efficient. The DDMs reduce the root-mean-square error (RMSE) of the temporal, spatial, and spatiotemporal prediction of piezometric head of the groundwater model by 82%, 60%, and 48%, respectively. In the second case study, the DDMs reduce the RMSE of the temporal prediction of piezometric head of the groundwater model by 77%. It is further demonstrated that the effectiveness of the DDMs depends on the existence and extent of the structure in the error of the physically-based model.

© 2013, National GroundWater Association.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk