Self-organizing maps of typhoon tracks allow for flood forecasts up to two days in advance

Li Chiu Chang, Fi John Chang, Shun Nien Yang, Fong He Tsai, Ting Hua Chang, Edwin E. Herricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Typhoons are among the greatest natural hazards along East Asian coasts. Typhoon-related precipitation can produce flooding that is often only predictable a few hours in advance. Here, we present a machine-learning method comparing projected typhoon tracks with past trajectories, then using the information to predict flood hydrographs for a watershed on Taiwan. The hydrographs provide early warning of possible flooding prior to typhoon landfall, and then real-time updates of expected flooding along the typhoon’s path. The method associates different types of typhoon tracks with landscape topography and runoff data to estimate the water inflow into a reservoir, allowing prediction of flood hydrographs up to two days in advance with continual updates. Modelling involves identifying typhoon track vectors, clustering vectors using a self-organizing map, extracting flow characteristic curves, and predicting flood hydrographs. This machine learning approach can significantly improve existing flood warning systems and provide early warnings to reservoir management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1983
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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