The most accurate rainfall-runoff predictions are currently based on deep learning. There is a concern among hydrologists that the predictive accuracy of data-driven models based on deep learning may not be reliable in extrapolation or for predicting extreme events. This study tests that hypothesis using long short-term memory (LSTM) networks and an LSTM variant that is architecturally constrained to conserve mass. The LSTM network (and the mass-conserving LSTM variant) remained relatively accurate in predicting extreme (high-return-period) events compared with both a conceptual model (the Sacramento Model) and a process-based model (the US National Water Model), even when extreme events were not included in the training period. Adding mass balance constraints to the data-driven model (LSTM) reduced model skill during extreme events.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)