Evaluating the utility of multispectral information in delineating the areal extent of precipitation

Ali Behrangi, Kuo Lin Hsu, Bisher Imam, Soroosh Sorooshian, Robert J. Kuligowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Data from geosynchronous Earth-orbiting (GEO) satellites equipped with visible (VIS) and infrared (IR) scanners are commonly used in rain retrieval algorithms. These algorithms benefit from the high spatial and temporal resolution of GEO observations, either in stand-alone mode or in combination with higher-quality but less frequent microwave observations from low Earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites. In this paper, a neural network-based framework is presented to evaluate the utility of multispectral information in improving rain/no-rain (R/NR) detection. The algorithm uses the powerful classification features of the self-organizing feature map (SOFM), along with probability matching techniques to map single- or multispectral input space into R/NR maps. The framework was tested and validated using the 31 possible combinations of the five Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 12 (GOES-12) channels. An algorithm training and validation study was conducted over the conterminous United States during June-August 2006. The results indicate that during daytime, the visible channel (0.65 μm) can yield significant improvements in R/NR detection capabilities, especially when combined with any of the other four GOES-12 channels. Similarly, for nighttime detection the combination of two IR channels - particularly channels 3 (6.5 μm) and 4 (10.7 μm)-resulted in significant performance gain over any single IR channel. In both cases, however, using more than two channels resulted only in marginal improvements over two-channel combinations. Detailed examination of event-based images indicate that the proposed algorithm is capable of extracting information useful to screen no-rain pixels associated with cold, thin clouds and identifying rain areas under warm but rainy clouds. Both cases have been problematic areas for IR-only algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-700
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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