The accurate estimate of sediment load is important for management of the river ecosystem, designing of water infrastructures, and planning of reservoir operations. The direct measurement of sediment is the most credible method to estimate the sediments. However, this requires a lot of time and resources. Because of these two constraints, most often, it is not possible to continuously measure the daily sediments for most of the gauging sites. Nowadays, data-based sediment prediction models are famous for bridging the data gaps in the estimation of sediment loads. In data-driven sediment predictions models, the selection of input vectors is critical in determining the best structure of models for the accurate estimation of sediment yields. In this study, time series inputs of snow cover area, basin effective rainfall, mean basin average temperature, and mean basin evapotranspiration in addition to the flows were assessed for the prediction of sediment loads. The input vectors were assessed with artificial neural network (ANN), adaptive neuro-fuzzy logic inference system with grid partition (ANFIS-GP), adaptive neuro-fuzzy logic inference system with subtractive clustering (ANFIS-SC), adaptive neuro-fuzzy logic inference system with fuzzy c-means clustering (ANFIS-FCM), multiple adaptive regression splines (MARS), and sediment rating curve (SRC) models for the Gilgit River, the tributary of the Indus River in Pakistan. The comparison of different input vectors showed improvements in the prediction of sediments by using the snow cover area in addition to flows, effective rainfall, temperature, and evapotranspiration. Overall, the ANN model performed better than all other models. However, as regards sediment load peak time series, the sediment loads predicted using the ANN, ANFIS-FCM, and MARS models were found to be closer to the measured sediment loads. The ANFIS-FCM performed better in the estimation of peak sediment yields with a relative accuracy of 81.31% in comparison to the ANN and MARS models with 80.17% and 80.16% of relative accuracies, respectively. The developed multiple linear regression equation of all models show an R2
value of 0.85 and 0.74 during the training and testing period, respectively.
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