Modern climate projections lack adequate spatial and temporal resolution due to computational constraints. A consequence is inaccurate and imprecise prediction of critical processes such as storms. Hybrid methods that combine physics with machine learning (ML) have introduced a new generation of higher fidelity climate simulators that can sidestep Moore's Law by outsourcing compute-hungry, short, high-resolution simulations to ML emulators. However, this hybrid ML-physics simulation approach requires domain-specific treatment and has been inaccessible to ML experts because of lack of training data and relevant, easy-to-use workflows. We present ClimSim, the largest-ever dataset designed for hybrid ML-physics research. It comprises multi-scale climate simulations, developed by a consortium of climate scientists and ML researchers. It consists of 5.7 billion pairs of multivariate input and output vectors that isolate the influence of locally-nested, high-resolution, high-fidelity physics on a host climate simulator's macro-scale physical state. The dataset is global in coverage, spans multiple years at high sampling frequency, and is designed such that resulting emulators are compatible with downstream coupling into operational climate simulators. We implement a range of deterministic and stochastic regression baselines to highlight the ML challenges and their scoring. The data (https://huggingface.co/datasets/LEAP/ClimSim_high-res) and code (https://leap-stc.github.io/ClimSim) are released openly to support the development of hybrid ML-physics and high-fidelity climate simulations for the benefit of science and society.
A promising approach to improve cloud parameterizations within climate models and thus climate projections is to use deep learning in combination with training data from storm-resolving model (SRM) simulations. The Icosahedral Non-Hydrostatic (ICON) modeling framework permits simulations ranging from numerical weather prediction to climate projections, making it an ideal target to develop neural network (NN) based parameterizations for sub-grid scale processes. Within the ICON framework, we train NN based cloud cover parameterizations with coarse-grained data based on realistic regional and global ICON SRM simulations. We set up three different types of NNs that differ in the degree of vertical locality they assume for diagnosing cloud cover from coarse-grained atmospheric state variables. The NNs accurately estimate sub-grid scale cloud cover from coarse-grained data that has similar geographical characteristics as their training data. Additionally, globally trained NNs can reproduce sub-grid scale cloud cover of the regional SRM simulation. Using the game-theory based interpretability library SHapley Additive exPlanations, we identify an overemphasis on specific humidity and cloud ice as the reason why our column-based NN cannot perfectly generalize from the global to the regional coarse-grained SRM data. The interpretability tool also helps visualize similarities and differences in feature importance between regionally and globally trained column-based NNs, and reveals a local relationship between their cloud cover predictions and the thermodynamic environment. Our results show the potential of deep learning to derive accurate yet interpretable cloud cover parameterizations from global SRMs, and suggest that neighborhood-based models may be a good compromise between accuracy and generalizability.