Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

Anomalous cluster detection in spatiotemporal meteorological fields

Journal Article

Finding anomalous regions in spatiotemporal climate data is an important problem with a need for greater accuracy. The collective and contextual nature of anomalies (e.g., heat waves) coupled with the real‐valued, seasonal, multimodal, highly correlated, and gridded nature of climate variable observations poses a multitude of challenges. Existing anomaly detection methods have limitations in the specific setting of real‐valued areal spatiotemporal data. In this paper, we develop a method for extreme event detection in meteorological datasets that follows from well known distribution‐based anomaly detection approaches. The method models spatial and temporal correlations explicitly through a piecewise parametric assumption and generalizes the Mahalanobis distance across distributions of different dimensionalities. The result is an effective method to mine contiguous spatiotemporal anomalous regions from meteorological fields which improves upon the current standard approach in climatology. The proposed method has been evaluated on a real global surface temperature dataset and validated using historical records of extreme events.

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