Machine Learning for Targeted Assimilation of Satellite Data

  • Yu-Ju LeeEmail author
  • David Hall
  • Jebb Stewart
  • Mark Govett
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11053)


Optimizing the utilization of huge data sets is a challenging problem for weather prediction. To a significant degree, prediction accuracy is determined by the data used in model initialization, assimilated from a variety of observational platforms. At present, the volume of weather data collected in a given day greatly exceeds the ability of assimilation systems to make use of it. Typically, data is ingested uniformly at the highest fixed resolution that enables the numerical weather prediction (NWP) model to deliver its prediction in a timely fashion. In order to make more efficient use of newly available high-resolution data sources, we seek to identify regions of interest (ROI) where increased data quality or volume is likely to significantly enhance weather prediction accuracy. In particular, we wish to improve the utilization of data from the recently launched Geostationary Operation Environmental Satellite (GOES)-16, which provides orders of magnitude more data than its predecessors. To achieve this, we demonstrate a method for locating tropical cyclones using only observations of precipitable water, which is evaluated using the Global Forecast System (GFS) weather prediction model. Most state of the art hurricane detection techniques rely on multiple feature sets, including wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and IR emissions, potentially from multiple data sources. In contrast, we demonstrate that this model is able to achieve comparable performance on historical tropical cyclone data sets, using only observations of precipitable water.


Numeric weather prediction Satellite Machine learning Data assimilation Tropical cyclone Precipitable water Water vapor Global Forecast System (GFS) 



This work was carried out at NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), University of Colorado Boulder with funding from NOAA. The first author is supported by funding from NOAA Award Number NA14OAR4320125 and the third author is supported by funding from NOAA Award Number NA17OAR4320101. The authors thank Christina Bonfanti for her help to suggest alternative best tracking data produced by NOAA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, NOAA/OAR/ESRL/Global Systems DivisionUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, NOAA/OAR/ESRL/Global Systems DivisionColorado State UniversityBoulderUSA
  4. 4.NOAA/OAR/ESRL/Global Systems DivisionBoulderUSA

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