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Ryan Lagerquist, Amy McGovern, and David John Gagne II

Abstract

This paper describes the use of convolutional neural nets (CNN), a type of deep learning, to identify fronts in gridded data, followed by a novel postprocessing method that converts probability grids to objects. Synoptic-scale fronts are often associated with extreme weather in the midlatitudes. Predictors are 1000-mb (1 mb = 1 hPa) grids of wind velocity, temperature, specific humidity, wet-bulb potential temperature, and/or geopotential height from the North American Regional Reanalysis. Labels are human-drawn fronts from Weather Prediction Center bulletins. We present two experiments to optimize parameters of the CNN and object conversion. To evaluate our system, we compare the objects (predicted warm and cold fronts) with human-analyzed warm and cold fronts, matching fronts of the same type within a 100- or 250-km neighborhood distance. At 250 km our system obtains a probability of detection of 0.73, success ratio of 0.65 (or false-alarm rate of 0.35), and critical success index of 0.52. These values drastically outperform the baseline, which is a traditional method from numerical frontal analysis. Our system is not intended to replace human meteorologists, but to provide an objective method that can be applied consistently and easily to a large number of cases. Our system could be used, for example, to create climatologies and quantify the spread in forecast frontal properties across members of a numerical weather prediction ensemble.

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David John Gagne II, Amy McGovern, and Ming Xue

Abstract

Probabilistic quantitative precipitation forecasts challenge meteorologists due to the wide variability of precipitation amounts over small areas and their dependence on conditions at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Ensembles of convection-allowing numerical weather prediction models offer a way to produce improved precipitation forecasts and estimates of the forecast uncertainty. These models allow for the prediction of individual convective storms on the model grid, but they often displace the storms in space, time, and intensity, which results in added uncertainty. Machine learning methods can produce calibrated probabilistic forecasts from the raw ensemble data that correct for systemic biases in the ensemble precipitation forecast and incorporate additional uncertainty information from aggregations of the ensemble members and additional model variables. This study utilizes the 2010 Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms Storm-Scale Ensemble Forecast system and the National Severe Storms Laboratory National Mosaic & Multi-Sensor Quantitative Precipitation Estimate as input data for training logistic regressions and random forests to produce a calibrated probabilistic quantitative precipitation forecast. The reliability and discrimination of the forecasts are compared through verification statistics and a case study.

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Amanda Burke, Nathan Snook, David John Gagne II, Sarah McCorkle, and Amy McGovern

Abstract

In this study, we use machine learning (ML) to improve hail prediction by postprocessing numerical weather prediction (NWP) data from the new High-Resolution Ensemble Forecast system, version 2 (HREFv2). Multiple operational models and ensembles currently predict hail, however ML models are more computationally efficient and do not require the physical assumptions associated with explicit predictions. Calibrating the ML-based predictions toward familiar forecaster output allows for a combination of higher skill associated with ML models and increased forecaster trust in the output. The observational dataset used to train and verify the random forest model is the Maximum Estimated Size of Hail (MESH), a Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) product. To build trust in the predictions, the ML-based hail predictions are calibrated using isotonic regression. The target datasets for isotonic regression include the local storm reports and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) practically perfect data. Verification of the ML predictions indicates that the probability magnitudes output from the calibrated models closely resemble the day-1 SPC outlook and practically perfect data. The ML model calibrated toward the local storm reports exhibited better or similar skill to the uncalibrated predictions, while decreasing model bias. Increases in reliability and skill after calibration may increase forecaster trust in the automated hail predictions.

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Amanda Burke, Nathan Snook, David John Gagne II, Sarah McCorkle, and Amy McGovern

Abstract

In this study, we use machine learning (ML) to improve hail prediction by postprocessing numerical weather prediction (NWP) data from the new High-Resolution Ensemble Forecast system, version 2 (HREFv2). Multiple operational models and ensembles currently predict hail, however ML models are more computationally efficient and do not require the physical assumptions associated with explicit predictions. Calibrating the ML-based predictions toward familiar forecaster output allows for a combination of higher skill associated with ML models and increased forecaster trust in the output. The observational dataset used to train and verify the random forest model is the Maximum Estimated Size of Hail (MESH), a Multi-Radar Multi-Sensor (MRMS) product. To build trust in the predictions, the ML-based hail predictions are calibrated using isotonic regression. The target datasets for isotonic regression include the local storm reports and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) practically perfect data. Verification of the ML predictions indicates that the probability magnitudes output from the calibrated models closely resemble the day-1 SPC outlook and practically perfect data. The ML model calibrated toward the local storm reports exhibited better or similar skill to the uncalibrated predictions, while decreasing model bias. Increases in reliability and skill after calibration may increase forecaster trust in the automated hail predictions.

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David John Gagne II, Amy McGovern, Sue Ellen Haupt, Ryan A. Sobash, John K. Williams, and Ming Xue

Abstract

Forecasting severe hail accurately requires predicting how well atmospheric conditions support the development of thunderstorms, the growth of large hail, and the minimal loss of hail mass to melting before reaching the surface. Existing hail forecasting techniques incorporate information about these processes from proximity soundings and numerical weather prediction models, but they make many simplifying assumptions, are sensitive to differences in numerical model configuration, and are often not calibrated to observations. In this paper a storm-based probabilistic machine learning hail forecasting method is developed to overcome the deficiencies of existing methods. An object identification and tracking algorithm locates potential hailstorms in convection-allowing model output and gridded radar data. Forecast storms are matched with observed storms to determine hail occurrence and the parameters of the radar-estimated hail size distribution. The database of forecast storms contains information about storm properties and the conditions of the prestorm environment. Machine learning models are used to synthesize that information to predict the probability of a storm producing hail and the radar-estimated hail size distribution parameters for each forecast storm. Forecasts from the machine learning models are produced using two convection-allowing ensemble systems and the results are compared to other hail forecasting methods. The machine learning forecasts have a higher critical success index (CSI) at most probability thresholds and greater reliability for predicting both severe and significant hail.

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