Emulators, or reduced complexity climate models, are surrogate Earth system models that produce projections of key climate quantities with minimal computational resources. Using time-series modeling or more advanced machine learning techniques, data-driven emulators have emerged as a promising avenue of research, producing spatially resolved climate responses that are visually indistinguishable from state-of-the-art Earth system models. Yet, their lack of physical interpretability limits their wider adoption. In this work, we introduce FaIRGP, a data-driven emulator that satisfies the physical temperature response equations of an energy balance model. The result is an emulator that (i) enjoys the flexibility of statistical machine learning models and can learn from observations, and (ii) has a robust physical grounding with interpretable parameters that can be used to make inference about the climate system. Further, our Bayesian approach allows a principled and mathematically tractable uncertainty quantification. Our model demonstrates skillful emulation of global mean surface temperature and spatial surface temperatures across realistic future scenarios. Its ability to learn from data allows it to outperform energy balance models, while its robust physical foundation safeguards against the pitfalls of purely data-driven models. We also illustrate how FaIRGP can be used to obtain estimates of top-of-atmosphere radiative forcing and discuss the benefits of its mathematical tractability for applications such as detection and attribution or precipitation emulation. We hope that this work will contribute to widening the adoption of data-driven methods in climate emulation.
A directed acyclic graph (DAG) provides valuable prior knowledge that is often discarded in regression tasks in machine learning. We show that the independences arising from the presence of collider structures in DAGs provide meaningful inductive biases, which constrain the regression hypothesis space and improve predictive performance. We introduce collider regression, a framework to incorporate probabilistic causal knowledge from a collider in a regression problem. When the hypothesis space is a reproducing kernel Hilbert space, we prove a strictly positive generalisation benefit under mild assumptions and provide closed-form estimators of the empirical risk minimiser. Experiments on synthetic and climate model data demonstrate performance gains of the proposed methodology.
Aerosol-cloud interactions constitute the largest source of uncertainty in assessments of the anthropogenic climate change. This uncertainty arises in part from the difficulty in measuring the vertical distributions of aerosols, and only sporadic vertically resolved observations are available. We often have to settle for less informative vertically aggregated proxies such as aerosol optical depth (AOD). In this work, we develop a framework for the vertical disaggregation of AOD into extinction profiles, i.e. the measure of light extinction throughout an atmospheric column, using readily available vertically resolved meteorological predictors such as temperature, pressure or relative humidity. Using Bayesian nonparametric modelling, we devise a simple Gaussian process prior over aerosol vertical profiles and update it with AOD observations to infer a distribution over vertical extinction profiles. To validate our approach, we use ECHAM-HAM aerosol-climate model data which offers self-consistent simulations of meteorological covariates, AOD and extinction profiles. Our results show that, while very simple, our model is able to reconstruct realistic extinction profiles with well-calibrated uncertainty, outperforming by an order of magnitude the idealized baseline which is typically used in satellite AOD retrieval algorithms. In particular, the model demonstrates a faithful reconstruction of extinction patterns arising from aerosol water uptake in the boundary layer. Observations however suggest that other extinction patterns, due to aerosol mass concentration, particle size and radiative properties, might be more challenging to capture and require additional vertically resolved predictors.
Refining low-resolution (LR) spatial fields with high-resolution (HR) information is challenging as the diversity of spatial datasets often prevents direct matching of observations. Yet, when LR samples are modeled as aggregate conditional means of HR samples with respect to a mediating variable that is globally observed, the recovery of the underlying fine-grained field can be framed as taking an "inverse" of the conditional expectation, namely a deconditioning problem. In this work, we introduce conditional mean processes (CMP), a new class of Gaussian Processes describing conditional means. By treating CMPs as inter-domain features of the underlying field, a posterior for the latent field can be established as a solution to the deconditioning problem. Furthermore, we show that this solution can be viewed as a two-staged vector-valued kernel ridge regressor and show that it has a minimax optimal convergence rate under mild assumptions. Lastly, we demonstrate its proficiency in a synthetic and a real-world atmospheric field downscaling problem, showing substantial improvements over existing methods.
The recent explosion in applications of machine learning to satellite imagery often rely on visible images and therefore suffer from a lack of data during the night. The gap can be filled by employing available infra-red observations to generate visible images. This work presents how deep learning can be applied successfully to create those images by using U-Net based architectures. The proposed methods show promising results, achieving a structural similarity index (SSIM) up to 86\% on an independent test set and providing visually convincing output images, generated from infra-red observations.
Public satellite missions are commonly bound to a trade-off between spatial and temporal resolution as no single sensor provides fine-grained acquisitions with frequent coverage. This hinders their potential to assist vegetation monitoring or humanitarian actions, which require detecting rapid and detailed terrestrial surface changes. In this work, we probe the potential of deep generative models to produce high-resolution optical imagery by fusing products with different spatial and temporal characteristics. We introduce a dataset of co-registered Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat surface reflectance time series and demonstrate the ability of our generative model to blend coarse daily reflectance information into low-paced finer acquisitions. We benchmark our proposed model against state-of-the-art reflectance fusion algorithms.
Mixup - a neural network regularization technique based on linear interpolation of labeled sample pairs - has stood out by its capacity to improve model's robustness and generalizability through a surprisingly simple formalism. However, its extension to the field of object detection remains unclear as the interpolation of bounding boxes cannot be naively defined. In this paper, we propose to leverage the inherent region mapping structure of anchors to introduce a mixup-driven training regularization for region proposal based object detectors. The proposed method is benchmarked on standard datasets with challenging detection settings. Our experiments show an enhanced robustness to image alterations along with an ability to decontextualize detections, resulting in an improved generalization power.