Controlling Weather Field Synthesis Using Variational Autoencoders (Papers Track)

Dario Augusto Borges Oliveira (IBM Research); Jorge Luis Guevara Diaz (IBM Research); Bianca Zadrozny (IBM Research); Campbell Watson (IBM Reserch)

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One of the consequences of climate change is an observed increase in the frequency of extreme climate events. That poses a challenge for weather forecast and generation algorithms, which learn from historical data but should embed an often uncertain bias to create correct scenarios. This paper investigates how mapping climate data to a known distribution using variational autoencoders might help explore such biases and control the synthesis of weather fields towards more extreme climate scenarios. We experimented using a monsoon-affected precipitation dataset from southwest India, which should give a roughly stable pattern of rainy days and ease our investigation. We report compelling results showing that mapping complex weather data to a known distribution implements an efficient control for weather field synthesis towards more (or less) extreme scenarios.