Locating Visual Storm Signatures from Satellite Images

Yu Zhang (1), Stephen Wistar (2), Jose A. Piedra-Fernandez (3), Jia Li (1), Michael A. Steinberg (2), James Z. Wang (1)
(1) The Pennsylvania State University, USA
(2) Accuweather Inc., USA
(3) University of Almeria, Spain


Weather forecasting is a problem where an enormous amount of data must be processed. Severe storms cause a significant amount of damages and loss every year in part due to the insufficiency of the current techniques in producing reliable forecasts. We propose an algorithm that analyzes satellite images from the vast historical archives to predict severe storms. Conventional weather forecasting involves solving numerical models based on sensory data. It has been challenging for computers to make forecasts based on the visual patterns from satellite images. In our system we extract and summarize important visual storm evidence from satellite image sequences in a way similar to how meteorologists interpret these images. Particularly, the algorithm extracts and fits local cloud motions from image sequences to model the storm-related cloud patches. Image data of an entire year are adopted to train the model. The historical storm reports since the year 2000 are used as the ground-truth and statistical priors in the modeling process. Experiments demonstrate the usefulness and potential of the algorithm for producing improved storm forecasts.

Full Paper
(IEEE page proof, PDF, 0.6MB)

More information

Citation: Yu Zhang, Stephen Wistar, Jose A. Piedra-Fernandez, Jia Li, Michael A. Steinberg and James Z. Wang, ``Locating Visual Storm Signatures from Satellite Images,'' Proceedings of the IEEE Big Data Conference, pp. 711-720, Washington, D.C., October 2014.

© 2014 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.

Last Modified: October 13, 2014
© 2014