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Open AccessArticle

A Data-Driven Approach for Winter Precipitation Classification Using Weather Radar and NWP Data

Iowa Flood Center and IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
Atmosphere 2020, 11(7), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070701
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 24 June 2020 / Published: 1 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Hydrology and QPE Uncertainties)
This study describes a framework that provides qualitative weather information on winter precipitation types using a data-driven approach. The framework incorporates the data retrieved from weather radars and the numerical weather prediction (NWP) model to account for relevant precipitation microphysics. To enable multimodel-based ensemble classification, we selected six supervised machine learning models: k-nearest neighbors, logistic regression, support vector machine, decision tree, random forest, and multi-layer perceptron. Our model training and cross-validation results based on Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS) showed that all the models performed better than our baseline method, which applies two thresholds (surface temperature and atmospheric layer thickness) for binary classification (i.e., rain/snow). Among all six models, random forest presented the best classification results for the basic classes (rain, freezing rain, and snow) and the further refinement of the snow classes (light, moderate, and heavy). Our model evaluation, which uses an independent dataset not associated with model development and learning, led to classification performance consistent with that from the MCS analysis. Based on the visual inspection of the classification maps generated for an individual radar domain, we confirmed the improved classification capability of the developed models (e.g., random forest) compared to the baseline one in representing both spatial variability and continuity. View Full-Text
Keywords: precipitation; classification; weather radar; NWP; machine learning; MCS precipitation; classification; weather radar; NWP; machine learning; MCS
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Seo, B.-C. A Data-Driven Approach for Winter Precipitation Classification Using Weather Radar and NWP Data. Atmosphere 2020, 11, 701.

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