Tropical and Extratropical Cyclone Detection Using Deep Learning

18 May 2020  ·  Christina Kumler-Bonfanti, Jebb Stewart, David Hall, Mark Govett ·

Extracting valuable information from large sets of diverse meteorological data is a time-intensive process. Machine learning methods can help improve both speed and accuracy of this process. Specifically, deep learning image segmentation models using the U-Net structure perform faster and can identify areas missed by more restrictive approaches, such as expert hand-labeling and a priori heuristic methods. This paper discusses four different state-of-the-art U-Net models designed for detection of tropical and extratropical cyclone Regions Of Interest (ROI) from two separate input sources: total precipitable water output from the Global Forecasting System (GFS) model and water vapor radiance images from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES). These models are referred to as IBTrACS-GFS, Heuristic-GFS, IBTrACS-GOES, and Heuristic-GOES. All four U-Nets are fast information extraction tools and perform with a ROI detection accuracy ranging from 80% to 99%. These are additionally evaluated with the Dice and Tversky Intersection over Union (IoU) metrics, having Dice coefficient scores ranging from 0.51 to 0.76 and Tversky coefficients ranging from 0.56 to 0.74. The extratropical cyclone U-Net model performed 3 times faster than the comparable heuristic model used to detect the same ROI. The U-Nets were specifically selected for their capabilities in detecting cyclone ROI beyond the scope of the training labels. These machine learning models identified more ambiguous and active ROI missed by the heuristic model and hand-labeling methods commonly used in generating real-time weather alerts, having a potentially direct impact on public safety.

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