Abstract

The amount of transported sediment load by streams is a vital but high nonlinear dynamic process in water resources management. In the current paper, two optimum predictive models subjected to artificial neural network (ANN) were developed. The employed inputs were then prioritized using diverse sensitivity analysis (SA) methods to address new updated but more efficient ANN structures. The models were found through the 263 processed datasets of three rivers in Idaho, USA using nine different measured flow and sediment variables (e.g., channel geometry, geomorphology, hydraulic) for a period of 11 years. The used parameters were selected based on the prior knowledge of the conventional analyses in which the effect of suspended load on bed load was also investigated. Analyzed accuracy performances using different criteria exhibited improved predictability in updated models which can lead to an advanced understanding of used parameters. Despite different SA methods being employed in evaluating model parameters, almost similar results were observed and then verified using relevant sensitivity indices. It was demonstrated that the ranked parameters using SA due to covering more uncertainties can be more reliable. Evaluated models using sensitivity indices showed that contribution of suspended load on predicted bed load is not significant.

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