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Effective cloud detection and segmentation using a gradient-based algorithm for satellite imagery: Application to improve PERSIANN-CCS

  • Author(s): Hayatbini, N
  • Hsu, KL
  • Sorooshian, S
  • Zhang, Y
  • Zhang, F
  • et al.

The effective identification of clouds and monitoring of their evolution are important toward more accurate quantitative precipitation estimation and forecast. In this study, a new gradient-based cloud-image segmentation algorithm is developed using image processing techniques. This method integrates morphological image gradient magnitudes to separate cloud systems and patches boundaries. A varying scale kernel is implemented to reduce the sensitivity of image segmentation to noise and to capture objects with various finenesses of the edges in remote sensing images. The proposed method is flexible and extendable from single to multispectral imagery. Case studies were carried out to validate the algorithm by applying the proposed segmentation algorithm to synthetic radiances for channels of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-16) simulated by a high-resolution weather prediction model. The proposed method compares favorably with the existing cloud-patch-based segmentation technique implemented in the Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information Using Artificial Neural Networks-Cloud Classification System (PERSIANN-CCS) rainfall retrieval algorithm. Evaluation of event-based images indicates that the proposed algorithm has potentials comparing to the conventional segmentation technique used in PERSIANN-CCS to improve rain detection and estimation skills with an accuracy rate of up to 98% in identifying cloud regions.

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