Seasonal rainfall forecasting by adaptive network-based fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) using large scale climate signals

Mekanik A., Imteaz M.A., Talei A., Climate Dynamics, 46: (9-10). 3097-3111, 2016

Accurate seasonal rainfall forecasting is an important step in the development of reliable runoff forecast models. The large scale climate modes affecting rainfall in Australia have recently been proven useful in rainfall prediction problems. In this study, adaptive network-based fuzzy inference systems (ANFIS) models are developed for the first time for southeast Australia in order to forecast spring rainfall. The models are applied in east, center and west Victoria as case studies. Large scale climate signals comprising El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and Inter-decadal Pacific Ocean (IPO) are selected as rainfall predictors. Eight models are developed based on single climate modes (ENSO, IOD, and IPO) and combined climate modes (ENSO-IPO and ENSO-IOD). Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), Mean Absolute Error (MAE), Pearson correlation coefficient (r) and root mean square error in probability (RMSEP) skill score are used to evaluate the performance of the proposed models. The predictions demonstrate that ANFIS models based on individual IOD index perform superior in terms of RMSE, MAE and r to the models based on individual ENSO indices. It is further discovered that IPO is not an effective predictor for the region and the combined ENSO-IOD and ENSO-IPO predictors did not improve the predictions. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed models a comparison is conducted between ANFIS models and the conventional Artificial Neural Network (ANN), the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA) and climatology forecasts. POAMA is the official dynamic model used by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The ANFIS predictions certify a superior performance for most of the region compared to ANN and climatology forecasts. POAMA performs better in regards to RMSE and MAE in east and part of central Victoria, however, compared to ANFIS it shows weaker results in west Victoria in terms of prediction errors and RMSEP skill score. In general, ANFIS models show superior results in terms of correlation coefficient for the overall case study. As a pioneer study, it is proposed that ANFIS is a promising tool for the purpose of seasonal predictions in Australia as they produce comparable accuracy using minimal inputs, require less development time and they are less complex compared to dynamic models.

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