A multi-scale hybrid neural network retrieval model for dust storm detection, a study in Asia

Man Sing Wong, Fei Xiao, Janet Elizabeth Nichol, Jimmy Fung, Jhoon Kim, James Campbell, P. W. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Dust storms are known to have adverse effects on human health and significant impact on weather, air quality, hydrological cycle, and ecosystem. Atmospheric dust loading is also one of the large uncertainties in global climate modeling, due to its significant impact on the radiation budget and atmospheric stability. Observations of dust storms in humid tropical south China (e.g. Hong Kong), are challenging due to high industrial pollution from the nearby Pearl River Delta region. This study develops a method for dust storm detection by combining ground station observations (PM10concentration, AERONET data), geostationary satellite images (MTSAT), and numerical weather and climatic forecasting products (WRF/Chem). The method is based on a hybrid neural network (NN) retrieval model for two scales: (i) a NN model for near real-time detection of dust storms at broader regional scale; (ii) a NN model for detailed dust storm mapping for Hong Kong and Taiwan. A feed-forward multilayer perceptron (MLP) NN, trained using back propagation (BP) algorithm, was developed and validated by the k-fold cross validation approach. The accuracy of the near real-time detection MLP-BP network is 96.6%, and the accuracies for the detailed MLP-BP neural network for Hong Kong and Taiwan is 74.8%. This newly automated multi-scale hybrid method can be used to give advance near real-time mapping of dust storms for environmental authorities and the public. It is also beneficial for identifying spatial locations of adverse air quality conditions, and estimates of low visibility associated with dust events for port and airport authorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-106
Number of pages18
JournalAtmospheric Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Dust storms
  • MTSAT image
  • Neural network
  • Reverse absorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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