Explainable hybrid deep learning and Coronavirus Optimization Algorithm for improving evapotranspiration forecasting

A. R. Troncoso-García, I. S. Brito, A. Troncoso, F. Martínez-Álvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Reference evapotranspiration is a critical hydrological measurement closely associated with agriculture. Accurate forecasting is vital in effective water management and crop planning in sustainable agriculture. In this study, the future values of reference evapotranspiration are forecasted by applying a recurrent long short-term memory neural network optimized using the Coronavirus Optimization Algorithm, a novel bioinspired metaheuristic based on the spread of COVID-19. The input data is sourced from the Sistema Agrometeorológico para a Gestão da Rega no Alentejo, in Portugal, with meteorological data such as air temperature or wind speed. Several baseline models are applied to the same problem to facilitate comparisons, including support vector machines, multi-layer perceptron, Lasso and decision tree. The results demonstrate the successful forecasting performance of the proposed model and its potential in this field. In turn, to gain deeper insights into the model's inner workings, the SHapley Additive exPlanation tool is applied for explainability. Consequently, the study identifies the most relevant variables for reference evapotranspiration forecasting, including previously measured evapotranspiration values. Additionally, a univariable model is tested using historic evapotranspiration values as input, offering a comparable performance with a considerable reduction of computational time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108387
Number of pages14
JournalComputers And Electronics In Agriculture
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Deep learning
  • Evapotranspiration forecasting
  • Hyperparameter optimization
  • XAI


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