Explicitly integrating parameter, input and structure uncertainties into Bayesian neural networks for probabilistic hydrologic forecasting

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Explicitly integrating parameter, input and structure uncertainties into Bayesian neural networks for probabilistic hydrologic forecasting

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Journal of Hydrology, Volume 409, Number 3-4, p.696-709 (2011)

Keywords:

Sustainability

Abstract:

Estimating uncertainty of hydrologic forecasting is valuable to water resources and other relevant decision making processes. Recently, Bayesian Neural Networks (BNNs) have been proved powerful tools for quantifying uncertainty of streamflow forecasting. In this study, we propose a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) framework (BNN-PIS) to incorporate the uncertainties associated with parameters, inputs, and structures into BNNs. This framework allows the structure of the neural networks to change by removing or adding connections between neurons and enables scaling of input data by using rainfall multipliers. The results show that the new BNNs outperform BNNs that only consider uncertainties associated with parameters and model structures. Critical evaluation of posterior distribution of neural network weights, number of effective connections, rainfall multipliers, and hyper-parameters shows that the assumptions held in our BNNs are not well supported. Further understanding of characteristics of and interactions among different uncertainty sources is expected to enhance the application of neural networks for uncertainty analysis of hydrologic forecasting.