Artificial neural network optimization to predict saturated hydraulic conductivity in arid and semi-arid regions

Ammar Albalasmeh, Osama Mohawesh, Mamoun Gharaibeh, Sanjit Deb, Lindsey Slaughter, Ali El Hanandeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat), one of the critical soil hydraulic properties, is used to model many soil hydrological processes. Measurement of Ksat on a routine basis is a labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive process. Alternatively, prediction of Ksat values from easy to obtain soil features is more economical and saves time. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) can be used to model and describe the most influential features affecting Ksat. This study aimed to develop and evaluate the potential use of generalized regression neural network (GRNN) to identify the optimal set of soil features to predict Ksat under arid and semi-arid environments. A total of 165 soil samples were collected from three depths (0–15, 15–30, and 30–60 cm) and analyzed for Ksat, texture, organic matter (OM), pH, bulk density (BD), and electrical conductivity (EC). Fourteen GRNN models were built with different feature combinations to identify the optimal set to predict Ksat. The results showed that soil texture explained 78% of the variability in soil Ksat while introducing EC improved model's ability to estimate soil Ksat (R = 0.93, MSE = 2.89 × 10-12 m2 S-2). The optimum set of soil properties that should be included in the model were sand and clay percentages and EC values as evidenced from the cross-validation results. The GRNN model (using small dataset and set of features) provided reliable predictions of Ksat on bar with more complex models that included extensive set of features and used more extensive dataset. This work has implications for soil scients as provides an economical method to estimate Ksat values.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106459
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Arid region
  • Artificial intelligence
  • GRNN
  • Jordan Valley
  • Saturated hydraulic conductivity


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