In rainfall–runoff modeling, the wavelet-ANN model, which includes a wavelet transform to capture multi-scale features of the process, as well as an artificial neural network (ANN) to predict the runoff discharge, is a beneficial approach. One of the essential steps in any ANN-based development process is determination of dominant input variables. This paper presents a two-stage procedure to model the rainfall–runoff process of the Delaney Creek and Payne Creek Basins, Florida, USA. The two-stage procedure includes data pre-processing and model building stages. In the data pre-processing stage, a wavelet transform is used to decompose the rainfall and runoff time series into several sub-series at different scales. Subsequently, independent sub-series are chosen via a self-organizing map (SOM). In the model building stage, selected sub-series are imposed as input data to a feed-forward neural network (FFNN) to forecast runoff discharge. To make a better interpretation of the model efficiency, the proposed model is compared with the Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average with eXogenous input (ARIMAX) and with the ad hoc FFNN methods, without any data pre-processing. The results proved that the proposed model leads to better outcome especially in term of determination coefficient for detecting peak points (DCpeak).

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