EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mesoscale precipitation nowcasting from weather radar data using space-time-separable graph convolutional networks

Daniele Trappolini1, Luca Scofano1, Alessio Sampieri1, Francesco Messina2, Fabio Galasso1, Saverio Di Fabio3, and Frank Silvio Marzano1,3
Daniele Trappolini et al.
  • 1Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • 2Intecs Artificial Intelligence Lab, Naples, Italy
  • 3CETEMPS University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy

Forecasting weather systems are capable to model atmospheric phenomena at various space-time scales. At very short space-time nowcasting techniques are still relying on measured data processing from ground-based microwave radars and satellite-based geostationary spectrometers. In this respect, precipitation field nowcasting from a few minutes up to a few hours is one of the most challenging goals to provide rapid and accurate updated features for civil prevention and protection decision-makers (e.g., from emergency services, marine services, sport, and cultural events, air traffic control, emergency management, agricultural sector and moreover flood early-warning system). Deep learning precipitation nowcasting models, based on weather radar network reflectivity measurements, have recently exceeded the overall performance of traditional extrapolation models, becoming one of the hottest topics in this field. This work proposes a novel network architecture to increase the performance of deep learning mesoscale precipitation prediction. Since precipitation nowcasting can be viewed as a video prediction problem, we present an architecture based on Graph Convolutional Neural Network (GCNN) for video frame prediction. Our solution exploits, as a cornerstone, the topology of Space-Time-Separable Graph-Convolutional- Network (STS-GCN), originally used for posing forecasting. We have applied our model on the TAASRAD19 radar data set with the aim of comparing our performance with other models, namely the Stacked Generalization (SG) Trajectory Gated Recurrent Unit (TrajGRU) and S-PROG Spectral Lagrangian extrapolation program (S-PROG).

The proposed model, named STSU-GCN (Space-Time-Separable Unet3d Graph Convolutional Network), has a structure composed of an encoder, decoder, and forecaster. The role of the encoder and decoder are accomplished by a Unet3d a structure borrowed with the specific purpose of modifying the spatial component, but not the temporal component. In the bottleneck of this Unet3D network, we use a graph-based forecaster. The performance of the STSU-GCN has been quantified using conventional metrics, such as the Critical Success Index (CSI), widely used in the meteorological community for the nowcasting task. Using TAASRAD19 radar data set and literature data, these CSI metrics have been applied to 4 different classes of rain rate, that is 5, 10, 20, 30 mm/h. Our STSU-GCN model has overperformed both TrajGRU and S-PROG in the classes 10 mm/h and 20 mm/h obtaining a CSI respectively of 0.148 and 0.097. On the other hand, STSU-GCN is underperforming in class 5mm per hour getting a CSI respectively of 0.099. Our STSU-GCN model is aligned with the results of the S-PROG benchmark, for the class 30 mm/h confirming a model skillful for classes with a high rain rate. In this work, we will also illustrate the results of the proposed STSU-GCN algorithm using case studies in the area of interest of the Italian Central Apennines during the summer of 2021. Statistical performances, potential developments, and critical issues of the STSU-GCN algorithm will be also discussed.

How to cite: Trappolini, D., Scofano, L., Sampieri, A., Messina, F., Galasso, F., Di Fabio, S., and Marzano, F. S.: Mesoscale precipitation nowcasting from weather radar data using space-time-separable graph convolutional networks, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5361,, 2022.


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