Throughout a tropical cyclone, humanitarian response efforts hinge on accurate storm intensity estimates. Using satellite images assembled by Radiant Earth Foundation and the NASA IMPACT team, can you estimate the wind speeds of storms at different times?
Tropical cyclones have become more destructive in the last decades as we experience a warmer climate. These winning solutions help estimate the potential consequences of storms and provide near real-time insight into these phenomena, saving lives and reducing damages.
— Hamed Alemohammad, Executive Director and Chief Data Scientist at Radiant Earth Foundation
Hurricanes can cause upwards of 1,000 deaths and $50 billion in damages in a single event, and have been responsible for well over 160,000 deaths globally in recent history. During a tropical cyclone, humanitarian response efforts hinge on accurate risk approximation models that depend on wind speed measurements at different points in time throughout a storm’s life cycle.
For several decades, forecasters have relied on visual pattern recognition of complex cloud features in visible and infrared imagery. While the longevity of this technique indicates the strong relationship between spatial patterns and cyclone intensity, visual inspection is manual, subjective, and often leads to inconsistent estimates between even well-trained analysts.
There is a vital need to develop automated, objective, and accurate tropical cyclone intensity estimation tools from satellite image data. In 2018, the NASA IMPACT team launched an experimental framework to investigate the applicability of deep learning-based models for estimating wind speeds in near-real time.
The goal of the Wind-dependent Variables challenge was to improve on this model using satellite images captured throughout a storm’s life cycle. To build their solutions, participants drew on a dataset of single-band satellite images and wind speed annotations from over 600 storms prepared by the NASA IMPACT team and Radiant Earth Foundation.
Over 700 participants stepped up to this important challenge, generating more than 2,700 entries. Each of the top three models achieved at least a 50% reduction in Root Mean Square Error (lower is better) as compared to the existing model!
Winning solutions were able to take advantage of the relative timing of images in a storm sequence to produce targeted wind speed estimates based on temporal trends. As a result, these solutions can help to improve disaster readiness and response efforts around the world by equipping response teams with more accurate and timely wind speed measurements. All of the prize-winning solutions from this competition are linked below and made available for anyone to use and learn from.
Wind-dependent Variables: Predict Wind Speeds of Tropical Storms: Rules and Terms of Data Use
DrivenData Competition Rules
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Private sharing of code
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Winner License Type: Open Source License
Winning solutions need to be made available under The MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT) in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
Documentation for winning solutions
Winning solutions must be documented using the Winning Model Documentation Template provided to top-ranking participants in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
The number of submissions per day is restricted to a fixed value on a per-competition basis. Any attempt to circumvent this limit will result in disqualification.
External data is not allowed unless otherwise noted explicitly on these competition pages. Participants agree to make no attempt to use additional data or data sources not provided on these competition pages.
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Data use and code sharing
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Disclaimer of Warranties
You understand that we cannot and do not guarantee or warrant that the Data or other files available for downloading from the internet or the Competition Website will be free of viruses or other destructive code. You are responsible for implementing sufficient procedures and checkpoints to satisfy your particular requirements for anti-virus protection and accuracy of data input and output, and for maintaining a means external to our site for any reconstruction of any lost data. RELEASED PARTIES WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE CAUSED BY A DISTRIBUTED DENIAL-OF-SERVICE ATTACK, VIRUSES OR OTHER TECHNOLOGICALLY HARMFUL MATERIAL THAT MAY INFECT YOUR COMPUTER EQUIPMENT, COMPUTER PROGRAMS, DATA OR OTHER PROPRIETARY MATERIAL DUE TO YOUR USE OF THE WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE OR TO YOUR DOWNLOADING OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON IT, OR ON ANY WEBSITE LINKED TO IT.
YOUR USE OF THE COMPETITION WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE AND RECEIPT OF ANY PRIZES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. THE WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, BEYOND ANY NON-EXCLUDABLE GUARANTEES (DEFINED BELOW). NEITHER THE RELEASED PARTIES NOR ANY PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH RELEASED PARTIES MAKES ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPLETENESS, SECURITY, RELIABILITY, QUALITY, ACCURACY OR AVAILABILITY OF THE COMPETITION WEBSITE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, NEITHER RELEASED PARTIES NOR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH THE RELEASED PARTIES REPRESENTS OR WARRANTS THAT THE COMPETITION WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL BE ACCURATE, RELIABLE, ERROR-FREE OR UNINTERRUPTED, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, THAT OUR SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS OR THAT THE COMPETITION WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL OTHERWISE MEET YOUR NEEDS OR EXPECTATIONS.
NOTHING IN THESE COMPETITION RULES LIMITS, EXCLUDES, OR MODIFIES OR PURPORTS TO LIMIT, EXCLUDE, OR MODIFY ANY STATUTORY CONSUMER GUARANTEE OR ANY IMPLIED CONDITION OR WARRANTY, THE EXCLUSION OF WHICH FROM THESE COMPETITION RULES WOULD CONTRAVENE ANY STATUTE OR CAUSE ANY PART OF THESE TERMS TO BE VOID (“NON-EXCLUDABLE GUARANTEES”). SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS IN THE PRECEDING SENTENCE AND TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY ANY MANDATORY PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE LAW, THE RELEASED PARTIES HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
THE FOREGOING DOES NOT AFFECT ANY WARRANTIES WHICH CANNOT BE EXCLUDED OR LIMITED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
DrivenData shall be the sole interpreter of these Competition Rules.
All matters relating to the Competition Rules or the Competition and any dispute or claim arising therefrom or related thereto (in each case, including non-contractual disputes or claims), shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the internal laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without giving effect to any choice or conflict of law provision or rule (whether of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other jurisdiction).
The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Competition Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Competition Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision was not contained herein.