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Optical flow models as an open benchmark for radar-based precipitation nowcasting (rainymotion v0.1)

  • Quantitative precipitation nowcasting (QPN) has become an essential technique in various application contexts, such as early warning or urban sewage control. A common heuristic prediction approach is to track the motion of precipitation features from a sequence of weather radar images and then to displace the precipitation field to the imminent future (minutes to hours) based on that motion, assuming that the intensity of the features remains constant (“Lagrangian persistence”). In that context, “optical flow” has become one of the most popular tracking techniques. Yet the present landscape of computational QPN models still struggles with producing open software implementations. Focusing on this gap, we have developed and extensively benchmarked a stack of models based on different optical flow algorithms for the tracking step and a set of parsimonious extrapolation procedures based on image warping and advection. We demonstrate that these models provide skillful predictions comparable with or even superior to state-of-the-artQuantitative precipitation nowcasting (QPN) has become an essential technique in various application contexts, such as early warning or urban sewage control. A common heuristic prediction approach is to track the motion of precipitation features from a sequence of weather radar images and then to displace the precipitation field to the imminent future (minutes to hours) based on that motion, assuming that the intensity of the features remains constant (“Lagrangian persistence”). In that context, “optical flow” has become one of the most popular tracking techniques. Yet the present landscape of computational QPN models still struggles with producing open software implementations. Focusing on this gap, we have developed and extensively benchmarked a stack of models based on different optical flow algorithms for the tracking step and a set of parsimonious extrapolation procedures based on image warping and advection. We demonstrate that these models provide skillful predictions comparable with or even superior to state-of-the-art operational software. Our software library (“rainymotion”) for precipitation nowcasting is written in the Python programming language and openly available at GitHub (https://github.com/hydrogo/rainymotion, Ayzel et al., 2019). That way, the library may serve as a tool for providing fast, free, and transparent solutions that could serve as a benchmark for further model development and hypothesis testing – a benchmark that is far more advanced than the conventional benchmark of Eulerian persistence commonly used in QPN verification experiments.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Georgy AyzelORCiD, Maik HeistermannORCiDGND, Tanja Winterrath
DOI:https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-12-1387-2019
ISSN:1991-9603
Parent Title (English):Geoscientific Model Development
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Place of publication:Katlenburg-Lindau
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2019/04/09
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2019/05/22
Tag:machine; system
Issue:12
Pagenumber:16
First Page:1387
Last Page:1402
Funder:Universität Potsdam
Grant Number:PA 2019_33
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Umweltwissenschaften und Geographie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert
Grantor:Publikationsfonds der Universität Potsdam
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
Notes extern:Zweitveröffentlichung in der Schriftenreihe Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe ; 709