Investigating rainfall estimation from radar measurements using neural networks
Rainfall observed on the ground is dependent on the four dimensional structure of precipitation aloft. Scanning radars can observe the four dimensional structure of precipitation. Neural network is a nonparametric method to represent the nonlinear relationship between radar measurements and rainfall rate. The relationship is derived directly from a dataset consisting of radar measurements and rain gauge measurements. The performance of neural network based rainfall estimation is subject to many factors, such as the representativeness and sufficiency of the training dataset, the generalization capability of the network to new data, seasonal changes, and regional changes. Improving the performance of the neural network for real time applications is of great interest. The goal of this paper is to investigate the performance of rainfall estimation based on Radial Basis Function (RBF) neural networks using radar reflectivity as input and rain gauge as the target. Data from Melbourne, Florida NEXRAD (Next Generation Weather Radar) ground radar (KMLB) over different years along with rain gauge measurements are used to conduct various investigations related to this problem. A direct gauge comparison study is done to demonstrate the improvement brought in by the neural networks and to show the feasibility of this system. The principal components analysis (PCA) technique is also used to reduce the dimensionality of the training dataset. Reducing the dimensionality of the input training data will reduce the training time as well as reduce the network complexity which will also avoid over fitting.