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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(10), 835;

A Comparison of Different Regression Algorithms for Downscaling Monthly Satellite-Based Precipitation over North China

State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Devrim Akca, Richard Gloaguen and Prasad Thenkabail
Received: 7 June 2016 / Revised: 25 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 12 October 2016
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Environmental monitoring of Earth from space has provided invaluable information for understanding land–atmosphere water and energy exchanges. However, the use of satellite-based precipitation observations in hydrologic and environmental applications is often limited by their coarse spatial resolutions. In this study, we propose a downscaling approach based on precipitation–land surface characteristics. Daytime land surface temperature, nighttime land surface temperature, and day–night land surface temperature differences were introduced as variables in addition to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), and geolocation (longitude, latitude). Four machine learning regression algorithms, the classification and regression tree (CART), the k-nearest neighbors (k-NN), the support vector machine (SVM), and random forests (RF), were implemented to downscale monthly TRMM 3B43 V7 precipitation data from 25 km to 1 km over North China for the purpose of comparison of algorithm performance. The downscaled results were validated based on observations from meteorological stations and were also compared to a previous downscaling algorithm. According to the validation results, the RF-based model produced the results with the highest accuracy. It was followed by SVM, CART, and k-NN, but the accuracy of the downscaled results using SVM relied greatly on residual correction. The downscaled results were well correlated with the observations during the year, but the accuracies were relatively lower in July to September. Downscaling errors increase as monthly total precipitation increases, but the RF model was less affected by this proportional effect between errors and observation compared with the other algorithms. The variable importances of the land surface temperature (LST) feature variables were higher than those of NDVI, which indicates the significance of considering the precipitation–land surface temperature relationship when downscaling TRMM 3B43 V7 precipitation data. View Full-Text
Keywords: TRMM; precipitation; downscaling; land surface temperature; machine learning TRMM; precipitation; downscaling; land surface temperature; machine learning

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Jing, W.; Yang, Y.; Yue, X.; Zhao, X. A Comparison of Different Regression Algorithms for Downscaling Monthly Satellite-Based Precipitation over North China. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 835.

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