Hillary S Scannell (University of Washington); Chris Fraley (Tableau Software); Nathan Mannheimer (Tableau Software); Sarah Battersby (Tableau Software); LuAnne Thompson (University of Washington)
Marine heatwaves make human and natural systems vulnerable to disaster risk through the disruption of ecological services and biological function. These extreme warming events in sea surface temperature are expected to become more frequent and longer lasting as a result of climate change. Large ensembles of global climate models now provide petabytes of climate-relevant data and an opportunity to probe machine learning to glean new insights about the climate conditions that cause marine heatwaves. Here we propose a k-means cluster based learning objective to map the geography of marine heatwave drivers globally to build a forecast for extreme sea surface temperatures using Long Short-Term Memory. We describe our machine learning approach to predict when and where future marine heatwaves will occur while leveraging the massive output of data from global climate models where traditional forecasting approaches fall short. The impacts of this work could warn coastal communities by providing a forecast for marine heatwaves, which would mitigate the negative effects on fishery productivity, ecosystem health, and tourism.