Genetic algorithms for the classification and prediction of precipitation occurrence

Z. Şen*, A. Öztopal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Using an approach similar to the biological processes of natural selection and evolution, the genetic algorithm (GA) is a nonconventional optimum search technique. Genetic algorithms have the ability to search large and complex decision spaces and handle nonconvexities. In this paper, the GA is applied for solving the optimum classification of rainy and non-rainy day occurrences based on vertical velocity, dewpoint depression, temperature and humidity data. The problem involves finding optimum classification based on known data, training the future prediction system and then making reliable predictions for rainfall occurrences which have significance in agricultural, transportation, water resources and tourism activities. Various statistical approaches require restrictive assumptions such as stationarity, homogeneity and normal probability distribution of the hydrological variables concerned. The GAs do not require any of these assumptions in their applications. The GA approach for the occurrence classifications and predictions is presented in steps and then the application of the methodology is shown for precipitation occurrence (non-occurrence) data. It has been shown that GAs give better results than classical approaches such as discriminant analysis. The application of the methodology is presented independently for the precipitation event occurrences and forecasting at the Lake Van station in eastern Turkey. Finally, the amounts of precipitation are predicted with a model similar to a third order Markov model whose parameters are estimated by the GA technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


  • Genetic algorithms
  • Precipitation
  • Prediction


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