Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 3.248 IF 3.248
  • IF 5-year value: 3.650 IF 5-year 3.650
  • CiteScore value: 3.37 CiteScore 3.37
  • SNIP value: 1.253 SNIP 1.253
  • SJR value: 1.869 SJR 1.869
  • IPP value: 3.29 IPP 3.29
  • h5-index value: 47 h5-index 47
  • Scimago H index value: 60 Scimago H index 60
Volume 11, issue 8 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 4627-4643, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-4627-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Aug 2018

Research article | 09 Aug 2018

A neural network approach to estimating a posteriori distributions of Bayesian retrieval problems

Simon Pfreundschuh1, Patrick Eriksson1, David Duncan1, Bengt Rydberg2, Nina Håkansson3, and Anke Thoss3 Simon Pfreundschuh et al.
  • 1Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2Möller Data Workflow Systems AB, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 3Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Norrköping, Sweden

Abstract. A neural-network-based method, quantile regression neural networks (QRNNs), is proposed as a novel approach to estimating the a posteriori distribution of Bayesian remote sensing retrievals. The advantage of QRNNs over conventional neural network retrievals is that they learn to predict not only a single retrieval value but also the associated, case-specific uncertainties. In this study, the retrieval performance of QRNNs is characterized and compared to that of other state-of-the-art retrieval methods. A synthetic retrieval scenario is presented and used as a validation case for the application of QRNNs to Bayesian retrieval problems. The QRNN retrieval performance is evaluated against Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation and another Bayesian method based on Monte Carlo integration over a retrieval database. The scenario is also used to investigate how different hyperparameter configurations and training set sizes affect the retrieval performance. In the second part of the study, QRNNs are applied to the retrieval of cloud top pressure from observations by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). It is shown that QRNNs are not only capable of achieving similar accuracy to standard neural network retrievals but also provide statistically consistent uncertainty estimates for non-Gaussian retrieval errors. The results presented in this work show that QRNNs are able to combine the flexibility and computational efficiency of the machine learning approach with the theoretically sound handling of uncertainties of the Bayesian framework. Together with this article, a Python implementation of QRNNs is released through a public repository to make the method available to the scientific community.

Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
A novel neural-network-based retrieval method is proposed that combines the flexibility and computational efficiency of machine learning retrievals with the consistent treatment of uncertainties of Bayesian methods. Numerical experiments are presented that show the consistency of the proposed method with the Bayesian formulation as well as its ability to represent non-Gaussian retrieval errors. With this, the proposed method overcomes important limitations of traditional methods.
A novel neural-network-based retrieval method is proposed that combines the flexibility and...
Citation
Share