Since the weather is chaotic, forecasts aim to predict the distribution of future states rather than make a single prediction. Recently, multiple data driven weather models have emerged claiming breakthroughs in skill. However, these have mostly been benchmarked using deterministic skill scores, and little is known about their probabilistic skill. Unfortunately, it is hard to fairly compare AI weather models in a probabilistic sense, since variations in choice of ensemble initialization, definition of state, and noise injection methodology become confounding. Moreover, even obtaining ensemble forecast baselines is a substantial engineering challenge given the data volumes involved. We sidestep both problems by applying a decades-old idea -- lagged ensembles -- whereby an ensemble can be constructed from a moderately-sized library of deterministic forecasts. This allows the first parameter-free intercomparison of leading AI weather models' probabilistic skill against an operational baseline. The results reveal that two leading AI weather models, i.e. GraphCast and Pangu, are tied on the probabilistic CRPS metric even though the former outperforms the latter in deterministic scoring. We also reveal how multiple time-step loss functions, which many data-driven weather models have employed, are counter-productive: they improve deterministic metrics at the cost of increased dissipation, deteriorating probabilistic skill. This is confirmed through ablations applied to a spherical Fourier Neural Operator (SFNO) approach to AI weather forecasting. Separate SFNO ablations modulating effective resolution reveal it has a useful effect on ensemble dispersion relevant to achieving good ensemble calibration. We hope these and forthcoming insights from lagged ensembles can help guide the development of AI weather forecasts and have thus shared the diagnostic code.
Thorough analysis of local droplet-level interactions is crucial to better understand the microphysical processes in clouds and their effect on the global climate. High-accuracy simulations of relevant droplet size distributions from Large Eddy Simulations (LES) of bin microphysics challenge current analysis techniques due to their high dimensionality involving three spatial dimensions, time, and a continuous range of droplet sizes. Utilizing the compact latent representations from Variational Autoencoders (VAEs), we produce novel and intuitive visualizations for the organization of droplet sizes and their evolution over time beyond what is possible with clustering techniques. This greatly improves interpretation and allows us to examine aerosol-cloud interactions by contrasting simulations with different aerosol concentrations. We find that the evolution of the droplet spectrum is similar across aerosol levels but occurs at different paces. This similarity suggests that precipitation initiation processes are alike despite variations in onset times.
* 4 pages, 3 figures, accepted at NeurIPS 2023 (Machine Learning and
the Physical Sciences Workshop)
Existing ML-based atmospheric models are not suitable for climate prediction, which requires long-term stability and physical consistency. We present ACE (AI2 Climate Emulator), a 200M-parameter, autoregressive machine learning emulator of an existing comprehensive 100-km resolution global atmospheric model. The formulation of ACE allows evaluation of physical laws such as the conservation of mass and moisture. The emulator is stable for 10 years, nearly conserves column moisture without explicit constraints and faithfully reproduces the reference model's climate, outperforming a challenging baseline on over 80% of tracked variables. ACE requires nearly 100x less wall clock time and is 100x more energy efficient than the reference model using typically available resources.
Machine-learning-based parameterizations (i.e. representation of sub-grid processes) of global climate models or turbulent simulations have recently been proposed as a powerful alternative to physical, but empirical, representations, offering a lower computational cost and higher accuracy. Yet, those approaches still suffer from a lack of generalization and extrapolation beyond the training data, which is however critical to projecting climate change or unobserved regimes of turbulence. Here we show that a multi-fidelity approach, which integrates datasets of different accuracy and abundance, can provide the best of both worlds: the capacity to extrapolate leveraging the physically-based parameterization and a higher accuracy using the machine-learning-based parameterizations. In an application to climate modeling, the multi-fidelity framework yields more accurate climate projections without requiring major increase in computational resources. Our multi-fidelity randomized prior networks (MF-RPNs) combine physical parameterization data as low-fidelity and storm-resolving historical run's data as high-fidelity. To extrapolate beyond the training data, the MF-RPNs are tested on high-fidelity warming scenarios, $+4K$, data. We show the MF-RPN's capacity to return much more skillful predictions compared to either low- or high-fidelity (historical data) simulations trained only on one regime while providing trustworthy uncertainty quantification across a wide range of scenarios. Our approach paves the way for the use of machine-learning based methods that can optimally leverage historical observations or high-fidelity simulations and extrapolate to unseen regimes such as climate change.
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.
The representation of nonlinear sub-grid processes, especially clouds, has been a major source of uncertainty in climate models for decades. Cloud-resolving models better represent many of these processes and can now be run globally but only for short-term simulations of at most a few years because of computational limitations. Here we demonstrate that deep learning can be used to capture many advantages of cloud-resolving modeling at a fraction of the computational cost. We train a deep neural network to represent all atmospheric sub-grid processes in a climate model by learning from a multi-scale model in which convection is treated explicitly. The trained neural network then replaces the traditional sub-grid parameterizations in a global general circulation model in which it freely interacts with the resolved dynamics and the surface-flux scheme. The prognostic multi-year simulations are stable and closely reproduce not only the mean climate of the cloud-resolving simulation but also key aspects of variability, including precipitation extremes and the equatorial wave spectrum. Furthermore, the neural network approximately conserves energy despite not being explicitly instructed to. Finally, we show that the neural network parameterization generalizes to new surface forcing patterns but struggles to cope with temperatures far outside its training manifold. Our results show the feasibility of using deep learning for climate model parameterization. In a broader context, we anticipate that data-driven Earth System Model development could play a key role in reducing climate prediction uncertainty in the coming decade.