The design of a real-time nowcasting system for localised weather
National meteorological offices are largely concerned with synoptic-scale forecasting where weather predictions are produced for a whole country for 24 hours ahead. In practice, many local organisations (such as emergency services, construction industries, forestry, farming, and sports) require only local short-term, bespoke, weather predictions and warnings. This thesis shows that the less-demanding requirements do not require exceptional computing power and can be met by a modern, desk-top system which monitors site-specific ground conditions (such as temperature, pressure, wind speed and direction, etc) augmented with above ground information from satellite images to produce `nowcasts'. The emphasis in this thesis has been towards the design of such a real-time system for nowcasting. Local site-specific conditions are monitored using a custom-built, stand alone, Motorola 6809 based sub-system. Above ground information is received from the METEOSAT 4 geo-stationary satellite using a sub-system based on a commercially available equipment. The information is ephemeral and must be captured in real-time. The real-time nowcasting system for localised weather handles the data as a transparent task using the limited capabilities of the PC system. Ground data produces a time series of measurements at a specific location which represents the past-to-present atmospheric conditions of the particular site from which much information can be extracted. The novel approach adopted in this thesis is one of constructing stochastic models based on the AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) technique. The satellite images contain features (such as cloud formations) which evolve dynamically and may be subject to movement, growth, distortion, bifurcation, superposition, or elimination between images. The process of extracting a weather feature, following its motion and predicting its future evolution involves algorithms for normalisation, partitioning, filtering, image enhancement, and correlation of multi-dimensional signals in different domains. To limit the processing requirements, the analysis in this thesis concentrates on an `area of interest'. By this rationale, only a small fraction of the total image needs to be processed, leading to a major saving in time. The thesis also proposes an extention to an existing manual cloud classification technique for its implementation in automatically classifying a cloud feature over the `area of interest' for nowcasting using the multi-dimensional signals.