Lake water-level fluctuation forecasting using machine learning models: a systematic review

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Dec;27(36):44807-44819. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-10917-7. Epub 2020 Sep 25.


Lake water-level fluctuation is a complex and dynamic process, characterized by high stochasticity and nonlinearity, and difficult to model and forecast. In recent years, applications of machine learning (ML) models have yielded substantial progress in forecasting lake water-level fluctuations. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the applications of ML models for modeling water-level dynamics in lakes. Among the many existing ML models, seven popular ML model types are reviewed: (1) artificial neural network (ANN); (2) support vector machine (SVM); (3) artificial neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS); (4) hybrid models, such as hybrid wavelet-artificial neural network (WA-ANN) model, hybrid wavelet-artificial neuro-fuzzy inference system (WA-ANFIS) model, and hybrid wavelet-support vector machine (WA-SVM) model; (5) evolutionary models, such as gene expression programming (GEP) and genetic programming (GP); (6) extreme learning machine (ELM); and (7) deep learning (DL). Model inputs, data split, model performance criteria, and model inter-comparison as well as the associated issues are discussed. The advantages and limitations of the established ML models are also discussed. Some specific directions for future research are also offered. This review provides a new vision for hydrologists and water resources planners for sustainable management of lakes.

Keywords: Lakes; Machine learning; Nonlinearity; Stochasticity; Water-level modeling.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Lakes*
  • Machine Learning*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Support Vector Machine