General circulation models (GCMs) are the foundation of weather and climate prediction. GCMs are physics-based simulators which combine a numerical solver for large-scale dynamics with tuned representations for small-scale processes such as cloud formation. Recently, machine learning (ML) models trained on reanalysis data achieved comparable or better skill than GCMs for deterministic weather forecasting. However, these models have not demonstrated improved ensemble forecasts, or shown sufficient stability for long-term weather and climate simulations. Here we present the first GCM that combines a differentiable solver for atmospheric dynamics with ML components, and show that it can generate forecasts of deterministic weather, ensemble weather and climate on par with the best ML and physics-based methods. NeuralGCM is competitive with ML models for 1-10 day forecasts, and with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts ensemble prediction for 1-15 day forecasts. With prescribed sea surface temperature, NeuralGCM can accurately track climate metrics such as global mean temperature for multiple decades, and climate forecasts with 140 km resolution exhibit emergent phenomena such as realistic frequency and trajectories of tropical cyclones. For both weather and climate, our approach offers orders of magnitude computational savings over conventional GCMs. Our results show that end-to-end deep learning is compatible with tasks performed by conventional GCMs, and can enhance the large-scale physical simulations that are essential for understanding and predicting the Earth system.
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.
Data-driven algorithms, in particular neural networks, can emulate the effects of unresolved processes in coarse-resolution climate models when trained on high-resolution simulation data; however, they often make large generalization errors when evaluated in conditions they were not trained on. Here, we propose to physically rescale the inputs and outputs of machine learning algorithms to help them generalize to unseen climates. Applied to offline parameterizations of subgrid-scale thermodynamics in three distinct climate models, we show that rescaled or "climate-invariant" neural networks make accurate predictions in test climates that are 4K and 8K warmer than their training climates. Additionally, "climate-invariant" neural nets facilitate generalization between Aquaplanet and Earth-like simulations. Through visualization and attribution methods, we show that compared to standard machine learning models, "climate-invariant" algorithms learn more local and robust relations between storm-scale convection, radiation, and their synoptic thermodynamic environment. Overall, these results suggest that explicitly incorporating physical knowledge into data-driven models of Earth system processes can improve their consistency and ability to generalize across climate regimes.