Artificial neural network (ANN) model classifiers were developed to generate ≤15h predictions of thunderstorms within three 400-km2 domains. The feed-forward, multi-layer perceptron and single hidden layer network topology, scaled conjugate gradient learning algorithm, and the sigmoid (linear) transfer function in the hidden (output) layer were used. The optimal number of neurons in the hidden layer was determined iteratively based on training set performance. Three sets of nine ANN models were developed: two sets based on predictors chosen from feature selection (FS) techniques and one set with all 36 predictors. The predictors were based on output from a numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. This study amends an earlier study and involves the increase in available training data by two orders of magnitude. ANN model performance was compared to corresponding performances of operational forecasters and multi-linear regression (MLR) models. Results revealed improvement relative to ANN models from the previous study. Comparative results between the three sets of classifiers, NDFD, and MLR models for this study were mixed—the best performers were a function of prediction hour, domain, and FS technique. Boosting the fraction of total positive target data (lightning strikes) in the training set did not improve generalization.
Part of the book: Artificial Neural Networks