Spatiotemporal Variability Assessment of Trace Metals Based on Subsurface Water Quality Impact Integrated with Artificial Intelligence-Based Modeling
Increasing anthropogenic emissions due to rapid industrialization have triggered environmental pollution and pose a threat to the well-being of the ecosystem. In this study, the first scenario involved the spatio-temporal assessment of topsoil contamination with trace metals in the Dammam region, and samples were taken from 2 zones: the industrial (ID), and the agricultural (AG) area. For this purpose, more than 130 spatially distributed samples of topsoil were collected from residential,
... rial, and agricultural areas. Inductively coupled plasma—optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)—was used to analyze the samples for various trace metals. The second scenario involved the creation of different artificial intelligence (AI) models, namely an artificial neural network (ANN) and a support vector regression (SVR), for the estimation of zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), and lead (Pb) using feature-based input selection. The experimental outcomes depicted that the average concentration levels of HMs were as follows: Chromium (Cr) (31.79 ± 37.9 mg/kg), Copper (Cu) (6.76 ± 12.54 mg/kg), Lead (Pb) (6.34 ± 14.55 mg/kg), and Zinc (Zn) (23.44 ± 84.43 mg/kg). The modelling accuracy, based on different evaluation criteria, showed that agricultural and industrial stations showed performance merit with goodness-of-fit ranges of 51–91% and 80–99%, respectively. This study concludes that AI models could be successfully applied for the rapid estimation of soil trace metals and related decision-making.