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Valliappa Lakshmanan and Travis Smith

Abstract

Although storm-tracking algorithms are a key ingredient of nowcasting systems, evaluation of storm-tracking algorithms has been indirect, labor intensive, or nonspecific. A set of easily computable bulk statistics that can be used to directly evaluate the performance of tracking algorithms on specific characteristics is introduced. These statistics are used to evaluate five widely used storm-tracking algorithms on a diverse set of radar reflectivity data cases. Based on this objective evaluation, a storm-tracking algorithm is devised that performs consistently and better than any of the previously suggested techniques.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan and Travis Smith

Abstract

A technique to identify storms and capture scalar features within the geographic and temporal extent of the identified storms is described. The identification technique relies on clustering grid points in an observation field to find self-similar and spatially coherent clusters that meet the traditional understanding of what storms are. From these storms, geometric, spatial, and temporal features can be extracted. These scalar features can then be data mined to answer many types of research questions in an objective, data-driven manner. This is illustrated by using the technique to answer questions of forecaster skill and lightning predictability.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan and John S. Kain

Abstract

Verification methods for high-resolution forecasts have been based either on filtering or on objects created by thresholding the images. The filtering methods do not easily permit the use of deformation while identifying objects based on thresholds can be problematic. In this paper, a new approach is introduced in which the observed and forecast fields are broken down into a mixture of Gaussians, and the parameters of the Gaussian mixture model fit are examined to identify translation, rotation, and scaling errors. The advantages of this method are discussed in terms of the traditional filtering or object-based methods and the resulting scores are interpreted on a standard verification dataset.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan, Kurt Hondl, and Robert Rabin

Abstract

Existing techniques for identifying, associating, and tracking storms rely on heuristics and are not transferrable between different types of geospatial images. Yet, with the multitude of remote sensing instruments and the number of channels and data types increasing, it is necessary to develop a principled and generally applicable technique. In this paper, an efficient, sequential, morphological technique called the watershed transform is adapted and extended so that it can be used for identifying storms. The parameters available in the technique and the effects of these parameters are also explained.

The method is demonstrated on different types of geospatial radar and satellite images. Pointers are provided on the effective choice of parameters to handle the resolutions, data quality constraints, and dynamic ranges found in observational datasets.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan, Madison Miller, and Travis Smith

Abstract

Accumulating gridded fields over time greatly magnifies the impact of impulse noise in the individual grids. A quality control method that takes advantage of spatial and temporal coherence can reduce the impact of such noise in accumulation grids. Such a method can be implemented using the image processing techniques of hysteresis and multiple hypothesis tracking (MHT). These steps are described in this paper, and the method is applied to simulated data to quantify the improvements and to explain the effect of various parameters. Finally, the quality control technique is applied to some illustrative real-world datasets.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan, Jian Zhang, and Kenneth Howard

Abstract

Existing techniques of quality control of radar reflectivity data rely on local texture and vertical profiles to discriminate between precipitating echoes and nonprecipitating echoes. Nonprecipitating echoes may be due to artifacts such as anomalous propagation, ground clutter, electronic interference, sun strobe, and biological contaminants (i.e., birds, bats, and insects). The local texture of reflectivity fields suffices to remove most artifacts, except for biological echoes. Biological echoes, also called “bloom” echoes because of their circular shape and expanding size during the nighttime, have proven difficult to remove, especially in peak migration seasons of various biological species, because they can have local and vertical characteristics that are similar to those of stratiform rain or snow. In this paper, a technique is described that identifies candidate bloom echoes based on the range variance of reflectivity in areas of bloom and uses the global, rather than local, characteristic of the echo to discriminate between bloom and rain. Every range gate is assigned a probability that it corresponds to bloom using morphological (shape based) operations, and a neural network is trained using this probability as one of the input features. It is demonstrated that this technique is capable of identifying and removing echoes due to biological targets and other types of artifacts while retaining echoes that correspond to precipitation.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan, Benjamin Herzog, and Darrel Kingfield

Abstract

Although existing algorithms for storm tracking have been designed to operate in real time, they are also commonly used to do postevent data analysis and research. Real-time algorithms cannot use information on the subsequent positions of a storm because it is not available at the time that associations between frames are made, but postevent analysis is not similarly constrained. Therefore, it should be possible to obtain better tracks for postevent analysis than those that a real-time algorithm is capable of producing. In this paper, a statistical procedure for determining storm tracks from a set of identified storm cells over time is described. It is found that this procedure results in fewer, longer-lived tracks at the potential cost of a small increase in positional error.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan, Kimberly L. Elmore, and Michael B. Richman

No Abstract available.

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Valliappa Lakshmanan, Travis Smith, Gregory Stumpf, and Kurt Hondl

Abstract

The Warning Decision Support System–Integrated Information (WDSS-II) is the second generation of a system of tools for the analysis, diagnosis, and visualization of remotely sensed weather data. WDSS-II provides a number of automated algorithms that operate on data from multiple radars to provide information with a greater temporal resolution and better spatial coverage than their currently operational counterparts. The individual automated algorithms that have been developed using the WDSS-II infrastructure together yield a forecasting and analysis system providing real-time products useful in severe weather nowcasting. The purposes of the individual algorithms and their relationships to each other are described, as is the method of dissemination of the created products.

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Madison L. Miller, Valliappa Lakshmanan, and Travis M. Smith

Abstract

The location and intensity of mesocyclone circulations can be tracked in real time by accumulating azimuthal shear values over time at every location of a uniform spatial grid. Azimuthal shear at low (0–3 km AGL) and midlevels (3–6 km AGL) of the atmosphere is computed in a noise-tolerant manner by fitting the Doppler velocity observations in the neighborhood of a pulse volume to a plane and finding the slope of that plane. Rotation tracks created in this manner are contaminated by nonmeteorological signatures caused by poor velocity dealiasing, ground clutter, radar test patterns, and spurious shear values. To improve the quality of these fields for real-time use and for an accumulated multiyear climatology, new dealiasing strategies, data thresholding, and multiple hypothesis tracking (MHT) techniques have been implemented. These techniques remove nearly all nonmeteorological contaminants, resulting in much clearer rotation tracks that appear to match mesocyclone paths and intensities closely.

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