Yazbeck, Joe and John B. Rundle

Land subsidence caused by excessive groundwater pumping in Central Valley, California, is a major issue that has several negative impacts such as reduced aquifer storage and damaged infrastructures which, in turn, produce an economic loss due to the high reliance on crop production. This is why it is of utmost importance to routinely monitor and assess the surface deformation occurring. Two main goals that this paper attempts to accomplish are deformation characterization and deformation prediction. The first goal is realized through the use of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) applied to a series of Interferomtric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) images that produces eigenimages displaying the key characteristics of the subsidence. Water storage changes are also directly analyzed by the use of data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites and the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS). The second goal is accomplished by building a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) model to predict short-term deformation after developing an InSAR time series using LiCSBAS, an open-source InSAR time series package. The model is applied to the city of Madera and produces better results than a baseline averaging model and a one dimensional convolutional neural network (CNN) based on a mean squared error metric showing the effectiveness of machine learning in deformation prediction as well as the potential for incorporation in hazard mitigation models. The model results can directly aid policy makers in determining the appropriate rate of groundwater withdrawal while maintaining the safety and well-being of the population as well as the aquifers’ integrity.