Clustering spatial-temporal precipitation data using wavelet transform and self-organizing map neural network

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107 Citations (Scopus)


A data analysis method is proposed to cluster and explore spatio-temporal characteristics of the 22 years of precipitation data (1982-2003) for Taiwan. The wavelet transform self-organizing map (WTSOM) framework combines the wavelet transform (WT) and a self-organizing map (SOM) neural network. WT is used to extract dynamic and multiscale features of the non-stationary precipitation time-series, and SOM is applied to objectively identify spatially homogeneous clusters on the high-dimensional wavelet-transformed feature space. Haar and Morlet wavelets are applied in the data preprocessing stage to preserve the desired characteristics of the precipitation data. A two-level SOM neural network is applied to identify clusters in the wavelet space in the clustering stage. The performance of clustering is evaluated using silhouette coefficients. The results indicate that singularities or sharp transitions are more significant than changes in the periodicity or data structure in the spatial-temporal precipitation data. The WTSOM results show that six clusters are optimal for both Haar and Morlet wavelet functions, but their corresponding geographic locations are different. The geographic locations of clusters based on the Haar wavelet, which captures the occurrence of extreme hydrological events, appear in blocks while those classified by the Morlet wavelet, which indicates periodicity changes and describes fine structures, appear in strips that cross the island of Taiwan. Principal component analysis is applied to the precipitation data of each cluster. The first principal components explain 62-90% of the total variation of data. Characteristics of precipitation data for each cluster are explored using scalogram analysis. The results show that both extreme hydrological events and periodicity changes appear in the spatial and temporal precipitation data but with different characteristics for each cluster. Recognizing homogeneous hydrologic regions and identifying the associated precipitation characteristics improves the efficiency of water resources management in adapting to climate change, preventing the degradation of the water environment, and reducing the impact of climate-induced disasters. Measures for countering the stress of precipitation variation for water resources management are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-200
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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