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Central University of Technology, Free State (2016)

WEATHER LORE VALIDATION TOOL USING FUZZY COGNITIVE MAPS BASED ON COMPUTER VISION

MWAGHA, SOLOMON MWANJELE

Titre : WEATHER LORE VALIDATION TOOL USING FUZZY COGNITIVE MAPS BASED ON COMPUTER VISION

Auteur : MWAGHA, SOLOMON MWANJELE

Université de soutenance : Central University of Technology, Free State

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Information Technology 2016

Résumé partiel
The creation of scientific weather forecasts is troubled by many technological challenges (Stern & Easterling, 1999) while their utilization is generally dismal. Consequently, the majority of small-scale farmers in Africa continue to consult some forms of weather lore to reach various cropping decisions (Baliscan, 2001). Weather lore is a body of informal folklore (Enock, 2013), associated with the prediction of the weather, and based on indigenous knowledge and human observation of the environment. As such, it tends to be more holistic, and more localized to the farmers’ context. However, weather lore has limitations ; for instance, it has an inability to offer forecasts beyond a season. Different types of weather lore exist, utilizing almost all available human senses (feel, smell, sight and hearing). Out of all the types of weather lore in existence, it is the visual or observed weather lore that is mostly used by indigenous societies, to come up with weather predictions. On the other hand, meteorologists continue to treat this knowledge as superstition, partly because there is no means to scientifically evaluate and validate it. The visualization and characterization of visual sky objects (such as moon, clouds, stars, and rainbows) in forecasting weather are significant subjects of research. To realize the integration of visual weather lore in modern weather forecasting systems, there is a need to represent and scientifically substantiate this form of knowledge. This research was aimed at developing a method for verifying visual weather lore that is used by traditional communities to predict weather conditions. To realize this verification, fuzzy cognitive mapping was used to model and represent causal relationships between selected visual weather lore concepts and weather conditions. The traditional knowledge used to produce these maps was attained through case studies of two communities (in Kenya and South Africa).These case studies were aimed at understanding the weather lore domain as well as the causal effects between metrological and visual weather lore. In this study, common astronomical weather lore factors related to cloud physics were identified as : bright stars, dispersed clouds, dry weather, dull stars, feathery clouds, gathering clouds, grey clouds, high clouds, layered clouds, low clouds, stars, medium clouds, and rounded clouds. Relationships between the concepts were also identified and formally represented using fuzzy cognitive maps. On implementing the verification tool, machine vision was used to recognize sky objects captured using a sky camera, while pattern recognition was employed in benchmarking and scoring the objects. A wireless weather station was used to capture real-time weather parameters. The visualization tool was then designed and realized in a form of software artefact, which integrated both computer vision and fuzzy cognitive mapping for experimenting visual weather lore, and verification using various statistical forecast skills and metrics. The tool consists of four main sub-components : (1) Machine vision that recognizes sky objects using support vector machine classifiers using shape-based feature descriptors ; (2) Pattern recognition–to benchmark and score objects using pixel orientations, Euclidean distance, canny and grey-level concurrence matrix ; (3) Fuzzy cognitive mapping that was used to represent knowledge (i.e. active hebbian learning algorithm was used to learn until convergence) ; and (4) A statistical computing component was used for verifications and forecast skills including brier score and contingency tables for deterministic forecasts. Rigorous evaluation of the verification tool was carried out using independent (not used in the training and testing phases) real-time images from Bloemfontein, South Africa, and Voi-Kenya. The real-time images were captured using a sky camera with GPS location services. The results of the implementation were tested for the selected weather conditions (for example, rain, heat, cold, and dry conditions), and found to be acceptable (the verified prediction accuracies were over 80%). The recommendation in this study is to apply the implemented method for processing tasks, towards verifying all other types of visual weather lore. In addition, the use of the method developed also requires the implementation of modules for processing and verifying other types of weather lore, such as sounds, and symbols of nature.

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