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Global Optimization of an Analog Method by Means of Genetic Algorithms

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  • 1 Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • | 2 Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • | 3 Laboratoire d’étude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement (LTHE), Université de Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France
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Abstract

Analog methods are based on a statistical relationship between synoptic meteorological variables (predictors) and local weather (predictand, to be predicted). This relationship is defined by several parameters, which are often calibrated by means of a semiautomatic sequential procedure. This calibration approach is fast, but has strong limitations. It proceeds through successive steps, and thus cannot handle all parameter dependencies. Furthermore, it cannot automatically optimize some parameters, such as the selection of pressure levels and temporal windows (hours of the day) at which the predictors are compared. To overcome these limitations, the global optimization technique of genetic algorithms is considered, which can jointly optimize all parameters of the method, and get closer to a global optimum, by taking into account the dependencies of the parameters. Moreover, it can objectively calibrate parameters that were previously assessed manually and can take into account new degrees of freedom. However, genetic algorithms must be tailored to the problem under consideration. Multiple combinations of algorithms were assessed, and new algorithms were developed (e.g., the chromosome of adaptive search radius, which is found to be very robust), in order to provide recommendations regarding the use of genetic algorithms for optimizing several variants of analog methods. A global optimization approach provides new perspectives for the improvement of analog methods, and for their application to new regions or new predictands.

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

Current affiliation: Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Pascal Horton, pascal.horton@giub.unibe.ch

Abstract

Analog methods are based on a statistical relationship between synoptic meteorological variables (predictors) and local weather (predictand, to be predicted). This relationship is defined by several parameters, which are often calibrated by means of a semiautomatic sequential procedure. This calibration approach is fast, but has strong limitations. It proceeds through successive steps, and thus cannot handle all parameter dependencies. Furthermore, it cannot automatically optimize some parameters, such as the selection of pressure levels and temporal windows (hours of the day) at which the predictors are compared. To overcome these limitations, the global optimization technique of genetic algorithms is considered, which can jointly optimize all parameters of the method, and get closer to a global optimum, by taking into account the dependencies of the parameters. Moreover, it can objectively calibrate parameters that were previously assessed manually and can take into account new degrees of freedom. However, genetic algorithms must be tailored to the problem under consideration. Multiple combinations of algorithms were assessed, and new algorithms were developed (e.g., the chromosome of adaptive search radius, which is found to be very robust), in order to provide recommendations regarding the use of genetic algorithms for optimizing several variants of analog methods. A global optimization approach provides new perspectives for the improvement of analog methods, and for their application to new regions or new predictands.

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

Current affiliation: Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

© 2017 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Pascal Horton, pascal.horton@giub.unibe.ch
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