December 4, 2020 - 9:00 am
December 4, 2020 - 10:00 am
CategoriesSchool of Meteorology Colloquium
School of Meteorology Colloquium
Using Machine Learning to Generate Storm-Scale Probabilistic Severe Weather Guidance from the Warn-on-Forecast System
Friday, December 4th
Join Google Meet
A primary goal of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Warn-on-Forecast (WoF) project is to provide rapidly updating probabilistic guidance to human forecasters for short-term (e.g., 0-3 h) severe weather forecasts. Maximizing the usefulness of probabilistic severe weather guidance from an ensemble of convection-allowing model forecasts requires calibration. In this study, I compare the skill of a simple method using updraft helicity against a series of machine learning (ML) algorithms for calibrating WoFS severe weather guidance. ML models are often used to calibrate severe weather guidance since they leverage multiple variables and discover useful patterns in complex datasets.
My dataset includes WoF System (WoFS) ensemble forecasts available every 5 minutes out to 150 min of lead time from the 2017-2019 NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Forecasting Experiments (81 dates). Using a novel ensemble storm track identification method, I extracted three sets of predictors from the WoFS forecasts: intra-storm state variables, near-storm environment variables, and morphological attributes of the ensemble storm tracks. I then trained random forests, gradient-boosted trees, and logistic regression algorithms to predict which WoFS 30-min ensemble storm tracks will correspond to a tornado, severe hail, and/or severe wind report. For the simple method, I extracted the ensemble probability of 2-5 km updraft helicity (UH) exceeding a threshold (tuned per severe weather hazard) from each ensemble storm track. The three ML algorithms discriminated well for all three hazards and produced more reliable probabilities than the UH-based predictions. Using state-of-the-art ML interpretability methods, it was found that the ML models learned sound physical relationships. Intra-storm predictors were found to be more important than environmental predictors for all three ML models, but environmental predictors made positive contributions to severe weather likelihood in situations where the WoFS fails to analyze ongoing convection. Overall, the results suggest that ML-based calibrations of dynamical ensemble output can improve short term, storm-scale severe weather probabilistic guidance.