Rad-cGAN v1.0: Radar-based precipitation nowcasting model with conditional generative adversarial networks for multiple dam domains

Suyeon Choi, Yeonjoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Numerical weather prediction models and probabilistic extrapolation methods using radar images have been widely used for precipitation nowcasting. Recently, machine-learning-based precipitation nowcasting models have also been actively developed for relatively short-term precipitation predictions. This study was aimed at developing a radar-based precipitation nowcasting model using an advanced machine-learning technique, conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN), which shows high performance in image generation tasks. The cGAN-based precipitation nowcasting model, named Rad-cGAN, developed in this study was trained with the radar reflectivity data of the Soyang-gang Dam basin in South Korea with a spatial domain of 128 × 128 pixels, spatial resolution of 1 km, and temporal resolution of 10 min. The model performance was evaluated using previously developed machine-learning-based precipitation nowcasting models, namely convolutional long short-term memory (ConvLSTM) and U-Net. In addition, Eulerian persistence model and pySTEPS, a radar-based deterministic nowcasting system, are used as baseline models. We demonstrated that Rad-cGAN outperformed reference models at 10 min lead time prediction for the Soyang-gang Dam basin based on verification metrics: Pearson correlation coefficient (R), root mean square error (RMSE), Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE), critical success index (CSI), and fraction skill scores (FSS) at an intensity threshold of 0.1, 1.0, and 5.0 mm h-1. However, unlike low rainfall intensity, the CSI at high rainfall intensity in Rad-cGAN deteriorated rapidly beyond the lead time of 10 min; however, ConvLSTM and baseline models maintained better performances. This observation was consistent with the FSS calculated at high rainfall intensity. These results were qualitatively evaluated using typhoon Soulik as an example, and through this, ConvLSTM maintained relatively higher precipitation than the other models. However, for the prediction of precipitation area, Rad-cGAN showed the best results, and the advantage of the cGAN method to reduce the blurring effect was confirmed through radially averaged power spectral density (PSD). We also demonstrated the successful implementation of the transfer learning technique to efficiently train the model with the data from other dam basins in South Korea, such as the Andong Dam and Chungju Dam basins. We used the pre-trained model, which was completely trained in the Soyang-gang Dam basin. Furthermore, we analyzed the amount of data to effectively develop the model for the new domain through the transfer learning strategies applying the pre-trained model using data for additional dam basins. This study confirmed that Rad-cGAN can be successfully applied to precipitation nowcasting with longer lead times and using the transfer learning approach showed good performance in dam basins other than the originally trained basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5967-5985
Number of pages19
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support. This study was supported by the Basic Science

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Suyeon Choi.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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