Retrieval of total precipitablewater from Himawari-8 AHI data: A comparison of random forest, extreme gradient boosting, and deep neural network

Yeonjin Lee, Daehyeon Han, Myoung Hwan Ahn, Jungho Im, Su Jeong Lee

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47 Scopus citations


Total precipitable water (TPW), a column of water vapor content in the atmosphere, provides information on the spatial distribution of moisture. The high-resolution TPW, together with atmospheric stability indices such as convective available potential energy (CAPE), is an effective indicator of severe weather phenomena in the pre-convective atmospheric condition. With the advent of high performing imaging instrument onboard geostationary satellites such as Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) onboard Himawari-8 of Japan and Advanced Meteorological Imager (AMI) onboard GeoKompsat-2A of Korea, it is expected that unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution data (e.g., AMI plans to provide 2 km resolution data at every 2 min over the northeast part of East Asia) will be provided. To derive TPW from such high-resolution data in a timely fashion, an efficient algorithm is highly required. Here, machine learning approaches-random forest (RF), extreme gradient boosting (XGB), and deep neural network (DNN)-are assessed for the TPW retrieved from AHI over the clear sky in Northeast Asia area. For the training dataset, the nine infrared brightness temperatures (BT) of AHI (BT8 to 16 centered at 6.2, 6.9, 7.3, 8.6, 9.6, 10.4, 11.2, 12.4, and 13.3 μm, respectively), six dual channel differences and observation conditions such as time, latitude, longitude, and satellite zenith angle for two years (September 2016 to August 2018) are used. The corresponding TPW is prepared by integrating the water vapor profiles from InterimEuropean Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-Analysis data (ERA-Interim). The algorithm performances are assessed using the ERA-Interim and radiosonde observations (RAOB) as the reference data. The results show that the DNN model performs better than RF and XGB with a correlation coefficient of 0.96, a mean bias of 0.90 mm, and a root mean square error (RMSE) of 4.65 mm when compared to the ERA-Interim. Similarly, DNN results in a correlation coefficient of 0.95, a mean bias of 1.25 mm, and an RMSE of 5.03 mm when compared to RAOB. Contributing variables to retrieve the TPW in each model and the spatial and temporal analysis of the retrieved TPW are carefully examined and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1741
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Deep neural network
  • Himawari-8 AHI
  • Machine learning
  • Random forest
  • Total precipitable water
  • XGBoost


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