The prediction of medium- and long-term runoff is of great significance to the comprehensive utilization of water resources. Building an adaptive data-driven runoff prediction model by automatic identification of multivariate time series change in runoff forecasting and identifying its influence degree is an attractive and intricate task. At present, the commonly used screening factor method is correlational analysis; others offer multi-collinearity. If these factors are directly input into the model, the parameters of the model tend to increase, and the excessive redundancy and noise adversely affects the prediction results of the model. On the basis of previous studies on medium- and long-term runoff prediction methods, this paper proposes an Elman Neural Network (ENN) adaptive runoff prediction method based on normalized mutual information (NMI) and kernel principal component analysis (KPCA). In this method, the features of the screening factors are extracted automatically by using the mutual information automatic screening factor, and then input into the Elman Neural Network for training. With less features, the parameters of the Elman Neural Network model can be reduced, and the problem of overfitting of the Elman Neural Network model is effectively alleviated. The method is evaluated by using the annual average runoff data of Jinping hydropower station in Chengdu, China, from 2007 to 2011. The maximum relative error of multiple forecasts was found to be less than 16%, and forecast effect was good. The accuracy of prediction is further improved by averaging the results of multiple forecasts.
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