Extreme Precipitation Seasonal Forecast Using a Transformer Neural Network (Papers Track) Spotlight

Daniel Salles Civitarese (IBM Research, Brazil); Daniela Szwarcman (IBM Research); Bianca Zadrozny (IBM Research); Campbell Watson (IBM Reserch)

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An impact of climate change is the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events. However, confidently predicting the likelihood of extreme precipitation at seasonal scales remains an outstanding challenge. Here, we present an approach to forecasting the quantiles of the maximum daily precipitation in each week up to six months ahead using the temporal fusion transformer (TFT) model. Through experiments in two regions, we compare TFT predictions with those of two baselines: climatology and a calibrated ECMWF SEAS5 ensemble forecast (S5). Our results show that, in terms of quantile risk at six month lead time, the TFT predictions significantly outperform those from S5 and show an overall small improvement compared to climatology. The TFT also responds positively to departures from normal that climatology cannot.

Recorded Talk (direct link)