Understanding the response of a catchment is a crucial problem in hydrology, with a variety of practical and theoretical implications. Dissecting the role of sub-basins is helpful both for advancing current knowledge of physical processes and for improving the implementation of simulation or forecast models. In this context, recent advancements in sensitivity analysis tools could be worthwhile for bringing out hidden dynamics otherwise not easy to distinguish in complex data driven investigations. In the present work seven feature importance measures are described and tested in a specific and simplified proof of concept case study. In practice, simulated runoff time series are generated for a watershed and its inner 15 sub-basins. A machine learning tool is calibrated using the sub-basins time series for forecasting the watershed runoff. Importance measures are applied on such synthetic hydrological scenario with the aim to investigate the role of each sub-basin in shaping the overall catchment response. This proof of concept offers a simplified representation of the complex dynamics of catchment response. The interesting result is that the discharge at the catchment outlet depends mainly on 3 sub-basins that are consistently identified by alternative sensitivity measures. The proposed approach can be extended to real applications, providing useful insights on the role of each sub-basin also analyzing more complex scenarios.

Feature importance measures to dissect the role of sub-basins in shaping the catchment hydrological response: a proof of concept

Cappelli, Francesco
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Borgonovo, Emanuele
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
In corso di stampa

Abstract

Understanding the response of a catchment is a crucial problem in hydrology, with a variety of practical and theoretical implications. Dissecting the role of sub-basins is helpful both for advancing current knowledge of physical processes and for improving the implementation of simulation or forecast models. In this context, recent advancements in sensitivity analysis tools could be worthwhile for bringing out hidden dynamics otherwise not easy to distinguish in complex data driven investigations. In the present work seven feature importance measures are described and tested in a specific and simplified proof of concept case study. In practice, simulated runoff time series are generated for a watershed and its inner 15 sub-basins. A machine learning tool is calibrated using the sub-basins time series for forecasting the watershed runoff. Importance measures are applied on such synthetic hydrological scenario with the aim to investigate the role of each sub-basin in shaping the overall catchment response. This proof of concept offers a simplified representation of the complex dynamics of catchment response. The interesting result is that the discharge at the catchment outlet depends mainly on 3 sub-basins that are consistently identified by alternative sensitivity measures. The proposed approach can be extended to real applications, providing useful insights on the role of each sub-basin also analyzing more complex scenarios.
2022
Cappelli, Francesco; Tauro, Flavia; Apollonio, Ciro; Petroselli, Andrea; Borgonovo, Emanuele; Grimaldi, Salvatore
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4052926
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