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  1. Abstract

    The quantification of storm updrafts remains unavailable for operational forecasting despite their inherent importance to convection and its associated severe weather hazards. Updraft proxies, like overshooting top area from satellite images, have been linked to severe weather hazards but only relate to a limited portion of the total storm updraft. This study investigates if a machine learning model, namely, U-Nets, can skillfully retrieve maximum vertical velocity and its areal extent from three-dimensional gridded radar reflectivity alone. The machine learning model is trained using simulated radar reflectivity and vertical velocity from the National Severe Storm Laboratory’s convection permitting Warn-on-Forecast System (WoFS). A parametric regression technique using the sinh–arcsinh–normal distribution is adapted to run with U-Nets, allowing for both deterministic and probabilistic predictions of maximum vertical velocity. The best models after hyperparameter search provided less than 50% root mean squared error, a coefficient of determination greater than 0.65, and an intersection over union (IoU) of more than 0.45 on the independent test set composed of WoFS data. Beyond the WoFS analysis, a case study was conducted using real radar data and corresponding dual-Doppler analyses of vertical velocity within a supercell. The U-Net consistently underestimates the dual-Doppler updraft speed estimates by 50%. Meanwhile, the area of the 5 and 10 m s−1updraft cores shows an IoU of 0.25. While the above statistics are not exceptional, the machine learning model enables quick distillation of 3D radar data that is related to the maximum vertical velocity, which could be useful in assessing a storm’s severe potential.

    Significance Statement

    All convective storm hazards (tornadoes, hail, heavy rain, straight line winds) can be related to a storm’s updraft. Yet, there is no direct measurement of updraft speed or area available for forecasters to make their warning decisions from. This paper addresses the lack of observational data by providing a machine learning solution that skillfully estimates the maximum updraft speed within storms from only the radar reflectivity 3D structure. After further vetting the machine learning solutions on additional real-world examples, the estimated storm updrafts will hopefully provide forecasters with an added tool to help diagnose a storm’s hazard potential more accurately.

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  2. Abstract Recently, the use of machine learning in meteorology has increased greatly. While many machine learning methods are not new, university classes on machine learning are largely unavailable to meteorology students and are not required to become a meteorologist. The lack of formal instruction has contributed to perception that machine learning methods are “black boxes” and thus end-users are hesitant to apply the machine learning methods in their everyday workflow. To reduce the opaqueness of machine learning methods and lower hesitancy toward machine learning in meteorology, this paper provides a survey of some of the most common machine learning methods. A familiar meteorological example is used to contextualize the machine learning methods while also discussing machine learning topics using plain language. The following machine learning methods are demonstrated: linear regression, logistic regression, decision trees, random forest, gradient boosted decision trees, naïve Bayes, and support vector machines. Beyond discussing the different methods, the paper also contains discussions on the general machine learning process as well as best practices to enable readers to apply machine learning to their own datasets. Furthermore, all code (in the form of Jupyter notebooks and Google Colaboratory notebooks) used to make the examples in the paper is provided in an effort to catalyze the use of machine learning in meteorology. 
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  3. Abstract

    Over the past decade the use of machine learning in meteorology has grown rapidly. Specifically neural networks and deep learning have been used at an unprecedented rate. To fill the dearth of resources covering neural networks with a meteorological lens, this paper discusses machine learning methods in a plain language format that is targeted to the operational meteorological community. This is the second paper in a pair that aim to serve as a machine learning resource for meteorologists. While the first paper focused on traditional machine learning methods (e.g., random forest), here a broad spectrum of neural networks and deep learning methods is discussed. Specifically, this paper covers perceptrons, artificial neural networks, convolutional neural networks, and U-networks. Like the Part I paper, this manuscript discusses the terms associated with neural networks and their training. Then the manuscript provides some intuition behind every method and concludes by showing each method used in a meteorological example of diagnosing thunderstorms from satellite images (e.g., lightning flashes). This paper is accompanied with an open-source code repository to allow readers to explore neural networks using either the dataset provided (which is used in the paper) or as a template for alternate datasets.

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  4. Abstract

    We present an overview of recent work on using artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) techniques for forecasting convective weather and its associated hazards, including tornadoes, hail, wind, and lightning. These high-impact phenomena globally cause both massive property damage and loss of life, yet they are very challenging to forecast. Given the recent explosion in developing ML techniques across the weather spectrum and the fact that the skillful prediction of convective weather has immediate societal benefits, we present a thorough review of the current state of the art in AI and ML techniques for convective hazards. Our review includes both traditional approaches, including support vector machines and decision trees, as well as deep learning approaches. We highlight the challenges in developing ML approaches to forecast these phenomena across a variety of spatial and temporal scales. We end with a discussion of promising areas of future work for ML for convective weather, including a discussion of the need to create trustworthy AI forecasts that can be used for forecasters in real time and the need for active cross-sector collaboration on testbeds to validate ML methods in operational situations.

    Significance Statement

    We provide an overview of recent machine learning research in predicting hazards from thunderstorms, specifically looking at lightning, wind, hail, and tornadoes. These hazards kill people worldwide and also destroy property and livestock. Improving the prediction of these events in both the local space as well as globally can save lives and property. By providing this review, we aim to spur additional research into developing machine learning approaches for convective hazard prediction.

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