Retrieval algorithms like that used by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 mission generate massive quantities of data of varying quality and reliability. A computationally efficient, simple method of labeling problematic datapoints or predicting soundings that will fail is required for basic operation, given that only 6% of the retrieved data may be operationally processed. This method automatically obtains a filter designed to reduce scatter based on a small number of input features.

Most machine-learning filter construction algorithms attempt to predict error in the CO2 value. By using a surrogate goal of Mean Monthly STDEV, the goal is to reduce the retrieved CO2 scatter rather than solving the harder problem of reducing CO2 error. This lends itself to improved interpretability and performance.

This software reduces the scatter of retrieved CO2 values globally based on a minimum number of input features. It can be used as a prefilter to reduce the number of soundings requested, or as a post-filter to label data quality. The use of the MMS (Mean Monthly Standard deviation) provides a much cleaner, clearer filter than the standard ABS(CO2-truth) metrics previously employed by competitor methods.

The software’s main strength lies in a clearer (i.e., fewer features required) filter that more efficiently reduces scatter in retrieved CO2 rather than focusing on the more complex (and easily removed) bias issues.

This work was done by Lukas Mandrake of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Dan Broderick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-48255

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Scatter-Reducing Sounding Filtration Using a Genetic Algorithm and Mean Monthly Standard Deviation

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This article first appeared in the December, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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