From pixels to patches: a cloud classification method based on a bag of micro-structures
Abstract. Automatic cloud classification has attracted more and more attention with the increasing development of whole sky imagers, but it is still in progress for ground-based cloud observation. This paper proposes a new cloud classification method, named bag of micro-structures (BoMS). This method treats an all-sky image as a collection of micro-structures mapped from image patches, rather than a collection of pixels. It represents the image with a weighted histogram of micro-structures. Based on this representation, BoMS recognizes the cloud class of the image by a support vector machine (SVM) classifier. Five classes of sky condition are identified: cirriform, cumuliform, stratiform, clear sky, and mixed cloudiness. BoMS is evaluated on a large data set, which contains 5000 all-sky images captured by a total-sky cloud imager located in Tibet (29.25° N, 88.88° E). BoMS achieves an accuracy of 90.9 % for 10-fold cross-validation, and it outperforms state-of-the-art methods with an increase of 19 %. Furthermore, influence of key parameters in BoMS is investigated to verify their robustness.