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Kanghui Zhou, Yongguang Zheng, Wansheng Dong, and Tingbo Wang

Abstract

Precise and timely lightning nowcasting is still a great challenge for meteorologists. In this study, a new semantic segmentation deep learning network for cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning nowcasting, named LightningNet, has been developed. This network is based on multisource observation data, including data from a geostationary meteorological satellite, Doppler weather radar network, and CG lightning location system. LightningNet, with an encoder–decoder architecture, consists of 20 three-dimensional convolutional layers, pooling and upsampling layers, normalization layers, and a softmax classifier. The central–eastern and southern China was selected as the study area, with considerations given to the topography and spatial coverage of the weather radar and lightning observation networks. Brightness temperatures (T B) of six infrared bands from the Himawari-8 satellite, composite reflectivity mosaic, and CG lightning densities were used as the predictors because of their close relationships with lightning activity. The multisource data were first interpolated into a uniform spatial/temporal resolution of 0.05° × 0.05°/10 min, and then training and test datasets were constructed, respectively. LightningNet was trained to extract the features of lightning initiation, development, and dissipation. The evaluation results demonstrated that LightningNet was able to achieve good performance of 0–1-h lightning nowcasts using the multisource data. The probability of detection, the false alarm ratio, the area under relative operating characteristic curve, and the threat score (TS) of LightningNet with all three types of data reached 0.633, 0.386, 0.931, and 0.453, respectively. Because geostationary meteorological satellite and radar both possess the capability of capturing lightning initiation (LI) features, LightningNet also showed good performance in LI nowcasting. When all three types of data were used, more than 50% LI was predicted accurately and the TS exceeded 0.36. LightningNet’s nowcast performance using triple-source data was clearly superior to that using only single-source or dual-source data, and these findings indicate that LightningNet has good capability of combining multisource data effectively to produce more reliable lightning nowcasts.

Free access
Xinhua Liu, Kanghui Zhou, Yu Lan, Xu Mao, and Robert J. Trapp

Abstract

It is argued here that even with the development of objective algorithms, convection-allowing numerical models, and artificial intelligence/machine learning, conceptual models will still be useful for forecasters until all these methods can fully satisfy the forecast requirements in the future. Conceptual models can help forecasters form forecast ideas quickly. They also can make up for the deficiencies of the numerical model and other objective methods. Furthermore, they can help forecasters understand the weather, and then help the forecasters lock in on the key features affecting the forecast as soon as possible. Ultimately, conceptual models can help the forecaster serve the end users faster, and better understand the forecast results during the service process. Based on the above considerations, construction of new conceptual models should have the following characteristics: 1) be guided by purpose, 2) focus on improving the ability of forecasters, 3) have multiangle consideration, 4) have multiscale fusion, and 5) need to be tested and corrected continuously. The traditional conceptual models used for forecasts of severe convective weather should be replaced gradually by new models that incorporate these principles.

Open access
Xinhua Liu, Kanghui Zhou, Yu Lan, Xu Mao, and Robert J. Trapp

Abstract

It is argued here that even with the development of objective algorithms, convection-allowing numerical models, and artificial intelligence/machine learning, conceptual models will still be useful for forecasters until all these methods can fully satisfy the forecast requirements in the future. Conceptual models can help forecasters form forecast ideas quickly. They also can make up for the deficiencies of the numerical model and other objective methods. Furthermore, they can help forecasters understand the weather, and then help the forecasters lock in on the key features affecting the forecast as soon as possible. Ultimately, conceptual models can help the forecaster serve the end users faster, and better understand the forecast results during the service process. Based on the above considerations, construction of new conceptual models should have the following characteristics: 1) be guided by purpose, 2) focus on improving the ability of forecasters, 3) have multiangle consideration, 4) have multiscale fusion, and 5) need to be tested and corrected continuously. The traditional conceptual models used for forecasts of severe convective weather should be replaced gradually by new models that incorporate these principles.

Open access