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An Interactive Approach for Identifying Structure Definitions

by   Natalia Mikula, et al.
Zuse Institute Berlin

Our ability to grasp and understand complex phenomena is essentially based on recognizing structures and relating these to each other. For example, any meteorological description of a weather condition and explanation of its evolution recurs to meteorological structures, such as convection and circulation structures, cloud fields and rain fronts. All of these are spatiotemporal structures, defined by time-dependent patterns in the underlying fields. Typically, such a structure is defined by a verbal description that corresponds to the more or less uniform, often somewhat vague mental images of the experts. However, a precise, formal definition of the structures or, more generally, concepts is often desirable, e.g., to enable automated data analysis or the development of phenomenological models. Here, we present a systematic approach and an interactive tool to obtain formal definitions of spatiotemporal structures. The tool enables experts to evaluate and compare different structure definitions on the basis of data sets with time-dependent fields that contain the respective structure. Since structure definitions are typically parameterized, an essential part is to identify parameter ranges that lead to desired structures in all time steps. In addition, it is important to allow a quantitative assessment of the resulting structures simultaneously. We demonstrate the use of the tool by applying it to two meteorological examples: finding structure definitions for vortex cores and center lines of temporarily evolving tropical cyclones. Ideally, structure definitions should be objective and applicable to as many data sets as possible. However, finding such definitions, e.g., for the common atmospheric structures in meteorology, can only be a long-term goal. The proposed procedure, together with the presented tool, is just a first approach to facilitate this long and arduous way.


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