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.
We introduce a machine-learning (ML)-based weather simulator--called "GraphCast"--which outperforms the most accurate deterministic operational medium-range weather forecasting system in the world, as well as all previous ML baselines. GraphCast is an autoregressive model, based on graph neural networks and a novel high-resolution multi-scale mesh representation, which we trained on historical weather data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)'s ERA5 reanalysis archive. It can make 10-day forecasts, at 6-hour time intervals, of five surface variables and six atmospheric variables, each at 37 vertical pressure levels, on a 0.25-degree latitude-longitude grid, which corresponds to roughly 25 x 25 kilometer resolution at the equator. Our results show GraphCast is more accurate than ECMWF's deterministic operational forecasting system, HRES, on 90.0% of the 2760 variable and lead time combinations we evaluated. GraphCast also outperforms the most accurate previous ML-based weather forecasting model on 99.2% of the 252 targets it reported. GraphCast can generate a 10-day forecast (35 gigabytes of data) in under 60 seconds on Cloud TPU v4 hardware. Unlike traditional forecasting methods, ML-based forecasting scales well with data: by training on bigger, higher quality, and more recent data, the skill of the forecasts can improve. Together these results represent a key step forward in complementing and improving weather modeling with ML, open new opportunities for fast, accurate forecasting, and help realize the promise of ML-based simulation in the physical sciences.
Precipitation nowcasting, the high-resolution forecasting of precipitation up to two hours ahead, supports the real-world socio-economic needs of many sectors reliant on weather-dependent decision-making. State-of-the-art operational nowcasting methods typically advect precipitation fields with radar-based wind estimates, and struggle to capture important non-linear events such as convective initiations. Recently introduced deep learning methods use radar to directly predict future rain rates, free of physical constraints. While they accurately predict low-intensity rainfall, their operational utility is limited because their lack of constraints produces blurry nowcasts at longer lead times, yielding poor performance on more rare medium-to-heavy rain events. To address these challenges, we present a Deep Generative Model for the probabilistic nowcasting of precipitation from radar. Our model produces realistic and spatio-temporally consistent predictions over regions up to 1536 km x 1280 km and with lead times from 5-90 min ahead. In a systematic evaluation by more than fifty expert forecasters from the Met Office, our generative model ranked first for its accuracy and usefulness in 88% of cases against two competitive methods, demonstrating its decision-making value and ability to provide physical insight to real-world experts. When verified quantitatively, these nowcasts are skillful without resorting to blurring. We show that generative nowcasting can provide probabilistic predictions that improve forecast value and support operational utility, and at resolutions and lead times where alternative methods struggle.
Theano is a Python library that allows to define, optimize, and evaluate mathematical expressions involving multi-dimensional arrays efficiently. Since its introduction, it has been one of the most used CPU and GPU mathematical compilers - especially in the machine learning community - and has shown steady performance improvements. Theano is being actively and continuously developed since 2008, multiple frameworks have been built on top of it and it has been used to produce many state-of-the-art machine learning models. The present article is structured as follows. Section I provides an overview of the Theano software and its community. Section II presents the principal features of Theano and how to use them, and compares them with other similar projects. Section III focuses on recently-introduced functionalities and improvements. Section IV compares the performance of Theano against Torch7 and TensorFlow on several machine learning models. Section V discusses current limitations of Theano and potential ways of improving it.