Unraveling the complexities of urban fluvial flood hydraulics through AI

Hossein Hosseiny (Earth and Planetary Sciences), 11/22

WashU Affiliated Authors: Hossein Hosseiny (Earth and Planetary Sciences)

Abstract: As urbanization increases across the globe, urban flooding is an ever-pressing concern. Urban fluvial systems are highly complex, depending on a myriad of interacting variables. Numerous hydraulic models are available for analyzing urban flooding; however, meeting the demand of high spatial extension and finer discretization and solving the physics-based numerical equations are computationally expensive. Computational efforts increase drastically with an increase in model dimension and resolution, preventing current solutions from fully realizing the data revolution. In this research, we demonstrate the effectiveness of artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, machine learning (ML) methods including the emerging deep learning (DL) to quantify urban flooding considering the lower part of Darby Creek, PA, USA. Training datasets comprise multiple geographic and urban hydraulic features (e.g., coordinates, elevation, water depth, flooded locations, discharge, average slope, and the impervious area within the contributing region, downstream distance from stormwater outfalls and dams). ML Classifiers such as logistic regression (LR), decision tree (DT), support vector machine (SVM), and K-nearest neighbors (KNN) are used to identify the flooded locations. A Deep neural network (DNN)-based regression model is used to quantify the water depth. The values of the evaluation matrices indicate satisfactory performance both for the classifiers and DNN model (F-1 scores- 0.975, 0.991, 0.892, and 0.855 for binary classifiers; root mean squared error- 0.027 for DNN regression). In addition, the blocked K-folds Cross Validation (CV) of ML classifiers in detecting flooded locations showed satisfactory performance with the average accuracy of 0.899, which validates the models to generalize to the unseen area. This approach is a significant step towards resolving the complexities of urban fluvial flooding with a large multi-dimensional dataset in a highly computationally efficient manner.

Citation/DOI: Mehedi, M.A.A., Smith, V., Hosseiny, H. et al. Unraveling the complexities of urban fluvial flood hydraulics through AI. Sci Rep 12, 18738 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-23214-9