Regional rainfall prediction using support vector machine classification of large-scale precipitation maps
Hussein, Eslam A.
MetadataShow full item record
Rainfall prediction helps planners anticipate potential social and economic impacts produced by too much or too little rain. This research investigates a class-based approach to rainfall prediction from 1-30 days in advance. The study made regional predictions based on sequences of daily rainfall maps of the continental US, with rainfall quantized at 3 levels: light or no rain; moderate; and heavy rain. Three regions were selected, corresponding to three squares from a 5 × 5 grid covering the map area. Rainfall predictions up to 30 days ahead for these three regions were based on a support vector machine (SVM) applied to consecutive sequences of prior daily rainfall map images. The results show that predictions for corner squares in the grid were less accurate than predictions obtained by a simple untrained classifier. However, SVM predictions for a central region outperformed the other two regions, as well as the untrained classifier. We conclude that there is some evidence that SVMs applied to large-scale precipitation maps can under some conditions give useful information for predicting regional rainfall, but care must be taken to avoid pitfalls.