Leveraging spatiotemporal information in meteorological image sequences: From feature engineering to neural networks
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Leveraging spatiotemporal information in meteorological image sequences: From feature engineering to neural networks

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  • Journal Title:
    Environmental Data Science
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    Atmospheric processes involve both space and time. Thus, humans looking at atmospheric imagery can often spot important signals in an animated loop of an image sequence not apparent in an individual (static) image. Utilizing such signals with automated algorithms requires the ability to identify complex spatiotemporal patterns in image sequences. That is a very challenging task due to the endless possibilities of patterns in both space and time. Here, we review different concepts and techniques that are useful to extract spatiotemporal signals from meteorological image sequences to expand the effectiveness of AI algorithms for classification and prediction tasks. We first present two applications that motivate the need for these approaches in meteorology, namely the detection of convection from satellite imagery and solar forecasting. Then we provide an overview of concepts and techniques that are helpful for the interpretation of meteorological image sequences, such as (a) feature engineering methods using (i) meteorological knowledge, (ii) classic image processing, (iii) harmonic analysis, and (iv) topological data analysis; (b) ways to use convolutional neural networks for this purpose with emphasis on discussing different convolution filters (2D/3D/LSTM-convolution); and (c) a brief survey of several other concepts, including the concept of “attention” in neural networks and its utility for the interpretation of image sequences and strategies from self-supervised and transfer learning to reduce the need for large labeled datasets. We hope that presenting an overview of these tools—many of which are not new but underutilized in this context—will accelerate progress in this area.
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    Environmental Data Science, 2
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    CC BY
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