Enhancing state and parameter estimations of a dynamic crop model by a recombination particle filter

Yevgeniya Orlova, Raphael Linker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Crop simulation models are essential tools in supporting sustainable agricultural management. However, due to uncertainty in model parameters, the model predictions may not be sufficiently accurate. Data assimilation (DA) is a common approach to improve dynamic crop modeling by combining it with observation data. Among DA approaches, particle filter (PF) is a popular choice. Since conventional PF (CPF) may suffer from sample impoverishment problems, various filter modifications have been proposed in the literature, including the application of genetic operators (arithmetic cross-over and mutations). In this study, a novel PF approach inspired by the gene's recombination process has been developed. In this new filter, named “recombination” PF (RPF), particle diversity is increased via information exchange between surviving particles and intermediate particles which are located close to existing particles. In turn, increased particle diversity reduces the chances of sample impoverishment and thus improves filter performance. The proposed method was tested on two synthetic study cases using the open-source AquaCrop model (v5.0a) and assuming weekly observations of canopy cover and soil water content. When CPF was implemented, the overall average normalized root mean square error (NRMSE), combining state and parameter estimations, and yield forecasts, all performed throughout the season, ranged from 4.0 to 5.1 % for ensemble sizes ranging from 150 to 500 particles. When RPF was implemented with a similar number of particles, the overall average NRMSE decreased to 3.6–3.7 %, corresponding to a 7–26 % improvement. Furthermore, higher stability of the results was observed, and the final parameter estimations improved in all the ensemble sizes investigated by approximately 40 %, which would be very beneficial for predicting crop growth in the next season.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108355
JournalComputers and Electronics in Agriculture
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • AquaCrop
  • Data assimilation
  • Ensemble diversity
  • Particle recombination
  • Sample Impoverishment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Horticulture


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