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A new methodology for pixel-quantitative precipitation nowcasting using a pyramid Lucas Kanade optical flow approach

Liu, Yu, Xi, Du-Gang, Li, Zhao-Liang, Hong, Yang
Journal of hydrology 2015 v.529 pp. 354-364
advection, algorithms, hydrology, methodology, satellites, China
Short-term high-resolution Quantitative Precipitation Nowcasting (QPN) has important implications for navigation, flood forecasting, and other hydrological and meteorological concerns. This study proposes a new algorithm called Pixel-based QPN using the Pyramid Lucas–Kanade Optical Flow method (PPLK), which comprises three steps: employing a Pyramid Lucas–Kanade Optical Flow method (PLKOF) to estimate precipitation advection, projecting rainy clouds by considering the advection and evolution pixel by pixel, and interpolating QPN imagery based on the space–time continuum of cloud patches. The PPLK methodology was evaluated with 2338 images from the geostationary meteorological satellite Fengyun-2F (FY-2F) of China and compared with two other advection-based methods, i.e., the maximum correlation method and the Horn–Schunck Optical Flow scheme. The data sample covered all intensive observations since the launch of FY-2F, despite covering a total of only approximately 10days. The results show that the PPLK performed better than the algorithms used for comparison, demonstrating less time expenditure, more effective cloud tracking, and improved QPN accuracy.