The Offshore Precipitation Capability
September 16, 2016
In this work, machine learning and image processing methods are used to estimate radar-like precipitation intensity and echo top heights beyond the range of weather radar. The technology, called the Offshore Precipitation Capability (OPC), combines global lightning data with existing radar mosaics, five Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) channels, and several fields from the Rapid Refresh (RAP) 13 km numerical weather prediction model to create precipitation and echo top fields similar to those provided by existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weather systems. Preprocessing and feature extraction methods are described to construct inputs for model training. A variety of machine learning algorithms are investigated to identify which provides the most accuracy. Output from the machine learning model is blended with existing radar mosaics to create weather radar-like analyses that extend into offshore regions. The resulting fields are validated using land radars and satellite precipitation measurements provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) core observatory satellite. This capability is initially being developed for the Miami Oceanic airspace with the goal of providing improved situational awareness for offshore air traffic control.