Daytime precipitation estimation using bispectral cloud classification system

Ali Behrangi, Koulin Hsu, Bisher Imam, Soroosh Sorooshian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Two previously developed Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN) algorithms that incorporate cloud classification system (PERSIANN-CCS) and multispectral analysis (PERSIANN-MSA) are integrated and employed to analyze the role of cloud albedo from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-12 (GOES-12) visible (0.65 μm) channel in supplementing infrared (10.7 mm) data. The integrated technique derives finescale (0.04° × 0.04° latitudelongitude every 30 min) rain rate for each grid box through four major steps: 1) segmenting clouds into a number of cloud patches using infrared or albedo images; 2) classification of cloud patches into a number of cloud types using radiative, geometrical, and textural features for each individual cloud patch; 3) classification of each cloud type into a number of subclasses and assigning rain rates to each subclass using a multidimensional histogram matching method; and 4) associating satellite gridbox information to the appropriate corresponding cloud type and subclass to estimate rain rate in grid scale. The technique was applied over a study region that includes the U.S. landmass east of 115°W. One reference infrared-only and three different bis-pectral (visible and infrared) rain estimation scenarios were compared to investigate the technique's ability to address two major drawbacks of infrared-only methods: 1) underestimating warm rainfall and 2) the inability to screen out no-rain thin cirrus clouds. Radar estimates were used to evaluate the scenarios at a range of temporal (3 and 6 hourly) and spatial (0.04°, 0.08°, 0.12°, and 0.24° latitude-longitude) scales. Overall, the results using daytime data during June-August 2006 indicate that significant gain over infrared-only technique is obtained once albedo is used for cloud segmentation followed by bispectral cloud classification and rainfall estimation. At 3-h, 0.04° resolution, the observed improvement using bispectral information was about 66% for equitable threat score and 26% for the correlation coefficient. At coarser 0.24° resolution, the gains were 34% and 32% for the two performance measures, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1031
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Classification
  • Clouds
  • Precipitation
  • Spectral models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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