Data-driven surrogate models for climate modeling: application of echo state networks, RNN-LSTM and ANN to the multi-scale Lorenz system as a test case (Research Track)

Ashesh K Chattopadhyay (Rice University); Pedram Hassanzadeh (Rice University); Devika Subramanian (Rice University); Krishna Palem (Rice University); Charles Jiang (Rice University); Adam Subel (Rice University)

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Climate Science & Modeling Extreme Weather


Understanding the effects of climate change relies on physics driven computationally expensive climate models which are still imperfect owing to ineffective subgrid scale parametrization. An effective way to treat these ineffective parametrization of largely uncertain subgrid scale processes are data-driven surrogate models with machine learning techniques. These surrogate models train on observational data capturing either the embed- dings of their (subgrid scale processes’) underlying dynamics on the large scale processes or to simulate the subgrid processes accurately to be fed into the large scale processes. In this paper an extended version of the Lorenz 96 system is studied, which consists of three equations for a set of slow, intermediate, and fast variables, providing a fitting prototype for multi-scale, spatio-temporal chaos, and in particular, the complex dynamics of the climate system. In this work, we have built a data-driven model based on echo state net- works (ESN) aimed, specifically at climate modeling. This model can predict the spatio-temporal chaotic evolution of the Lorenz system for several Lyapunov timescales. We show that the ESN model outperforms, in terms of the prediction horizon, a deep learning technique based on recurrent neural network (RNN) with long short-term memory (LSTM) and an artificial neural network by factors between 3 and 10. The results suggest that ESN has the potential for being a powerful method for surrogate modeling and data-driven prediction for problems of interest to the climate community.