Comparison of GOES Cloud Classification Algorithms Employing Explicit and Implicit Physics
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB MONTEREY CA
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Cloud-type classification based on multispectral satellite imagery data has been widely researched and demonstrated to be useful for distinguishing a variety of classes using a wide range of methods. The research described here is a comparison of the classifier output from two very different algorithms applied to Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES data over the course of one year. The first algorithm employs spectral channel thresholding and additional physically based tests. The second algorithm was developed through a supervised learning method with characteristic features of expertly labeled image samples used as training data for a 1-nearest-neighbor classification. The latters ability to identify classes is also based in physics, but those relationships are embedded implicitly within the algorithm. A pixel-to-pixel comparison analysis was done for hourly daytime scenes within a region in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Considerable agreement was found in this analysis, with many of the mismatches or disagreements providing insight to the strengths and limitations of each classifier. Depending upon user needs, a rule-based or other postprocessing system that combines the output from the two algorithms could provide the most reliable cloud-type classification.
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