Autonomous Sensing and Scientific Machine Learning for Monitoring Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Proposals Track)

Genevieve Flaspohler (MIT); Victoria Preston (MIT); Nicholas Roy (MIT); John Fisher (MIT); Adam Soule (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution); Anna Michel (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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Climate Science & Modeling Ecosystems & Biodiversity


Greenhouse gas emissions are a key driver of climate change. In order to develop and tune climate models, measurements of natural and anthropogenic phenomenon are necessary. Traditional methods (i.e., physical sample collection and ex situ analysis) tend to be sample sparse and low resolution, whereas global remote sensing methods tend to miss small- and mid-scale dynamic phenomenon. In situ instrumentation carried by a robotic platform is suited to study greenhouse gas emissions at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. However, collecting scientifically rich datasets of dynamic or transient emission events requires accurate and flexible models of gas emission dynamics. Motivated by applications in seasonal Arctic thawing and volcanic outgassing, we propose the use of scientific machine learning, in which traditional scientific models (in the form of ODEs/PDEs) are combined with machine learning techniques (generally neural networks) to better incorporate data into a structured, interpretable model. Our technical contributions will primarily involve developing these hybrid models and leveraging model uncertainty estimates during sensor planning to collect data that efficiently improves gas emission models in small-data domains.