METplus Practical Session Guide (Version 5.0) | Multicategorical Forecasts > METplus Examples of Multicategorical Forecast Verification

The following two examples show a generalized method for calculating multicategorical statistics: one for a MET-only usage, and the same example but utilizing METplus wrappers. These examples are not meant to be completely reproducible by a user: no input data is provided, commands to run the various tools are not given, etc. Instead, they serve as a general guide of one possible setup among many that produce multicategorical statistics.

If you are interested in reproducible, step-by-step examples of running the various tools of METplus, you are strongly encouraged to review the METplus online tutorial that follows this statistical tutorial, where data is made available to reproduce the guided examples.

In order to better understand the delineation between METplus, MET, and METplus wrappers which are used frequently throughout this tutorial but are NOT interchangeable, the following definitions are provided for clarity:

  • METplus is best visualized as an overarching framework with individual components. It encapsulates all of the repositories: MET, METplus wrappers, METdataio, METcalcpy, and METplotpy.
  • MET serves as the core statistical component that ingests the provided fields and commands to compute user-requested statistics and diagnostics.
  • METplus wrappers is a suite of Python wrappers that provide low-level automation of MET tools and plotting capability. While there are examples of calling METplus wrappers without any underlying MET usage, these are the exception rather than the rule.

MET Example of Multicategorical Forecast Verification

Here is an example that demonstrates multicategorical forecast verification in MET.

For this example, let’s use Point-Stat. Assume we wanted to verify a multicategory forecast of wind speeds over the ocean. Specifically of interest are speed thresholds of near gale force (13.9 m/s), gale force (17.2 m/s), tropical storm (24.5 m/s), and hurricane (32.7 m/s). Starting with the general Point-Stat configuration file, the following would resemble minimum necessary settings/changes for the fcst and obs dictionaries:

fcst = {
   field = [
name   = "WIND";
     level  = [ "Z10" ];     
cat_thresh = [ >=13.9, >=17.2, >=24.5, >=32.7 ];
obs = fcst;

In this example, the forecast field name in the forecast input file is named WIND, and is set accordingly in the fcst dictionary. Wind speed is one of the unique variables in METplus that can be calculated from the u and v components of a grib1 or grib2 file if wind speed is not present in the file. Assuming the input file is in a grib1 or grib2 format, MET will first check if a variable field WIND is present; if it is, MET will use the values in that field for analysis. If not, MET will check for the u-component (UGRD) and v-component (VGRD) fields and if found, compute the wind speed field for analysis. A level of Z10 is used to grab the vertical level of 10 that WIND appears on, which for this input file corresponds to the 10 meter level. Finally, cat_thresh, which controls the categorical threshold used to create the multicategory contingency table, is set to four separate thresholds, with each value corresponding to one of the wind speed thresholds of interest. The example’s chosen thresholds assume that the wind speed units in the file are in meters per second. All of the additional fcst field entries from the general Point-Stat configuration file were removed. Note how MET uses four thresholds to creates five unique, discrete bins of wind speeds with a contingency table that would look like the following:

The table includes a “hidden” bin containing wind speeds less than 13.9 m/s that is not explicitly listed by a threshold in the MET settings, but rather implied: each of these bins is mutually exclusive and together they entail the complete real number line. This is why it is important to remember the “monotonically increasing and same inequality type” requirement when setting multicategorical forecast thresholds in METplus. For more discussion on this, review the METplus Solutions for Multicategorical Forecast Verification section.

The obs dictionary is simply copying the settings from the fcst dictionary, which is a method that can be used if both the forecast and observation input files share the same variable structure and file type (e.g. both inputs use the WIND variable name, in m/s, with the Z10 level corresponding to the 10 meter level).

Now all that’s necessary is to adjust the output_flag dictionary settings to have Point-Stat print out the desired line types:

output_flag = {
   fho = NONE;
   ctc = NONE;
   cts = NONE;
   mctc   = STAT;
   mcts   = STAT;
   cnt = NONE;

In this example, we have told MET to output the MCTC and MCTS line types, which will produce one .stat file with the two line types that were selected. The MCTC line would look something like:

V11.1.1 MODEL   NA   120000 20230807_120000 20230807_120000 000000   20230807_120000 20230807_120000 WIND  m/s Z10  WIND m/s    Z10  NA FULL NEAREST     1       >=13.9,>=17.2,>=24.5,>=32.7   >=13.9,>=17.2,>=24.5,>=32.7  NA         NA MCTC   162015 5       161912       11 0 0 0 71 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0    0.2

While the stat file full header column contents are discussed in the User’s Guide, the MCTC line types are the final columns of the line beginning after the “MCTC” column. The first value is MET’s TOTAL column which is the “total number of matched pairs”. You might better recognize this value as n, the summation of every cell in the contingency table. The following value is the number of dimensions or bins of the contingency table. As discussed above, providing four categorical thresholds creates a 5x5 contingency table. That means that we expect, and receive, 25 cells of data that make up the contingency table. They are listed starting with the lowest forecast and observation threshold pair, with increasing observation thresholds starting first. For the contingency table provided in this example, it would look like the following:

Note that the final column of the MCTC line type, EC_VALUE, is only relevant to users verifying probabilistic data with the HSS_EC skill score.

The MCTS line type is also present in the .stat file as the second row. In this example, the contents would be:

V11.1.1 MODEL   NA   120000 20230807_120000 20230807_120000 000000   20230807_120000 20230807_120000 WIND  m/s Z10  WIND m/s    Z10  NA FULL NEAREST     1       >=13.9,>=17.2,>=24.5,>=32.7   >=13.9,>=17.2,>=24.5,>=32.7  NA         0.05  MCTS 162016 5  0.99949  0.99937 0.99959 NA NA  0.66623 NA NA 0.34901 NA NA NA NA NA 0.99937 NA NA 0.2

Compared to the statistics available in the CTC line type for dichotomous categorical forecasts, fewer verification statistics can be applied to a multicategorical contingency table, since most of the  contingency table verification statistics require a simplified 2x2 contingency table. The columns that are available in the MCTS line type are listed in the MET User’s Guide guidance for the MCTS line type. After the declaration of the line type (MCTS), the familiar TOTAL or n column, and the number of bins created from the thresholds provided, we find Accuracy, HK, HSS, the Gerrity Skill Score, and HSS_EC, all with their appropriate lower and upper confidence intervals and the bootstrap confidence intervals. Accuracy has an additional two columns that give the normal confidence limits in addition to the bootstrap confidence limits. Note that because the bootstrap library’s n_rep variable was kept at its default value of 0, bootstrap methods were not used and appear as NA in the stat file. While all of these statistics could be obtained from the MCTC line type values with additional post-processing, the simplicity of having all of them already calculated and ready for additional group statistics or to advise forecast adjustments is one of the many advantages of using the METplus system.

METplus Wrapper Example of Multicategorical Forecast Verification

To achieve the same success as the previous example but utilizing METplus wrappers instead of MET, very few adjustments would need to be made. Starting with the standard PointStat configuration file, we would need to set the _VAR1 settings appropriately:

BOTH_VAR1_THRESH = ge13.9, ge17.2, ge24.5, ge32.7

Note how the BOTH option is utilized here (as opposed to individual FCST_ and OBS_ settings) since the forecast and observation datasets utilize the same name and level information. Because the loop/timing information is controlled inside the configuration file for METplus wrappers (as opposed to MET’s non-looping option), that information must also be set accordingly:



Finally, the desired line types need to be selected for output. In the wrappers, that looks like this:


With a proper setting of the input and output directories, file templates, and a successful run of METplus, the same .stat output file that was created in the MET example would be produced here, complete with MCTC and MCTS line type rows.