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Automated Input Variable Selection for Analog Methods Using Genetic Algorithms
  • Pascal Horton,
  • Olivia Martius,
  • Simon Lukas Grimm
Pascal Horton
University of Bern

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Olivia Martius
University of Bern
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Simon Lukas Grimm
University of Bern
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Analog methods (AMs) have long been used for precipitation prediction and climate studies. However, they rely on manual selections of parameters, such as predictor variables and analogy criteria. Previous work showed the potential of genetic algorithms (GAs) to optimize most of the AM parameters. This research goes one step further and investigates the potential of GAs for automating the selection of the input variables and the analogy criteria (distance metric between two data fields) in AMs. Our study focuses on the prediction of daily precipitation in central Europe, specifically Switzerland, as a representative case. 
Comparative analysis against established methods demonstrates the superiority of GA-optimized AMs in terms of predictive accuracy. The selected input variables exhibit strong associations with key meteorological processes that influence the generation of precipitation. Further, we identify a new analogy criterion inspired by the Teweles-Wobus criterion, which consistently performs better than other Euclidean distances and could be used in classic AMs. In contrast to conventional stepwise selection approaches, GA-optimized AMs display a preference for a flatter structure characterized by a single level of analogy and an increased number of variables.
Overall, our study demonstrates the successful application of GAs in automating input variable selection for AMs, with potential implications for application in diverse locations and data exploration to predict alternative predictands. In a broader context, GAs could be used to perform input variable selection in other data-driven methods, opening perspectives for a broad range of applications.
02 Apr 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
09 Apr 2024Published in ESS Open Archive