Article image

Bridging the gap: The quest for accurate weather forecasts

Weather forecasting is an ever-evolving field with a focus on accuracy. Despite advancements, challenges like quantile crossing persist. This particular issue disrupts the logical order of predicted values. It stems from numerical weather prediction methods.

These methods, though sophisticated, can yield biased forecasts. Consequently, a global team of researchers is working to improve these methods. Their goal is to eliminate quantile crossing, aiming to enhance forecast reliability.

A novel approach to weather forecasts

The team’s solution centers on the non-crossing quantile regression neural network (NCQRNN) model. This model is the brainchild of Professor Dazhi Yang and colleagues. They hail from prestigious institutions, collaborating on this breakthrough.

The NCQRNN model refines traditional QRNN frameworks. It incorporates a special layer to maintain the forecast values’ order. This ensures lower quantiles stay below higher ones, enhancing prediction accuracy. Moreover, this improvement significantly aids in understanding the forecasts.

The NCQRNN advantage: Clarity in prediction

The NCQRNN’s edge lies in its prediction clarity. Professor Yang emphasizes the model’s orderly value maintenance, boosting interpretability. Furthermore, Dr. Martin J. Mayer delves into the model’s core mechanism.

This mechanism teaches the network to distinguish between quantiles using intermediate variables, thus keeping their order. Additionally, the model’s versatility shines, as its non-crossing layer fits various architectures. This adaptability promises broad application in diverse forecasting systems.

Wide applicability and future forecasting

The technique shines, especially in solar irradiance forecasting, outperforming current models. Its flexibility allows easy integration into many weather systems, enhancing predictions across various variables.

Dr. Sebastian Lerch highlights the model’s broad potential, suggesting uses beyond solar forecasting in weather and climate domains.

Dr. Xiang’ao Xia considers this study critical. It showcases the significant effect of machine learning on weather models.

This research was a team effort, merging atmospheric and data sciences. Thus, it marks a step forward, making future forecasts more accurate.

More about quantile crossing

Quantile crossing in weather forecasting is an issue that arises in probabilistic forecasting when forecasting models produce quantiles that are not properly ordered across different probabilities. This problem violates the basic principle that quantiles should increase with the probability level. 

For instance, the 90th percentile of a forecast should predict a higher value than the 50th percentile for the same variable and time point. Quantile crossing contradicts this expectation, indicating a flaw in the forecast system or model.

In the context of weather forecasting, where forecasts are often presented as probabilistic forecasts to indicate uncertainty (for example, the probability that rainfall will exceed a certain threshold), ensuring that quantiles are properly ordered is crucial for the coherence and reliability of the forecasts.

The focus on ensuring coherent and reliable probabilistic forecasts is essential for effective decision-making in weather-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, emergency management, and outdoor event planning. 

Techniques to avoid quantile crossing are thus an integral part of the development and evaluation of forecasting models in meteorology.

The full study is published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.


Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates. 

Check us out on EarthSnap, a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and


News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day