Interpretable ML


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Workshop Papers

Venue Title
ICLR 2024 Towards a Data-Driven Understanding of Cloud Structure Formation (Papers Track)
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Abstract: The physics of cloud formation and evolution is still not fully understood and constitutes one of the highest uncertainties in climate modeling. We are working on an approach that aims at improving our understanding of how clouds of different structures form from a data-driven perspective: By predicting the visual appearance of cloud photographs from physical quantities obtained from reanalysis data and subsequently attributing the decisions to physical quantities using ``explainable AI'' methods, we try to identify relevant physical processes. At the current stage, this is just a proof of concept, being at least able to identify basic meteorologically plausible facts from data.

Authors: Ann-Christin Wörl (Johannes Gutenberg University); Michael Wand (University of Mainz); Peter Spichtinger (Johannes Gutenberg University)

ICLR 2024 Bee Activity Prediction and Pattern Recognition in Environmental Data (Papers Track)
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Abstract: As a consequence of climate change, biodiversity is declining rapidly. Many species like insects, especially bees, suffer from changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Applying machine learning for monitoring and predicting specie's health and life conditions can help understanding and improving biodiversity. In this work we use data collected from cameras and sensors mounted upon beehives together with different other data sources like weather data, information extracted from satellite images and geographical information. We aim at predicting bees' health (measured as their activity) and analyzing influencing environmental conditions. We show that we are able to accurately predict bees' activity and understand their life conditions by using machine learning algorithms and explainable AI. Understanding these conditions can help to make recommendations on good locations for beehives. This work illustrates the potential of applying machine learning on sensor, satellite and weather data for monitoring and predicting species' health and hence shows the ability for adaptation to climate change and a more accurate species monitoring.

Authors: Christine Preisach (University of Applied Sciences Karlsruhe); Marius Herrmann (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

ICLR 2024 Explaining Zeolite Synthesis-Structure Relationships using Aggregated SHAP Analysis (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Zeolites, crystalline aluminosilicate materials with well-defined porous structures, have emerged as versatile materials with applications in carbon capture. Hydrothermal synthesis is a widely used method for zeolite production, offering control over crystallinity and and pore size. However, the intricate interplay of synthesis parameters necessitates a comprehensive understanding to optimize the synthesis process. We train a supervised classification machine learning model on ZeoSyn (a dataset of zeolite synthesis routes) to predict the zeolite framework product given a synthesis route. Subsequently, we leverage SHapley Additive Explanations (SHAP) to reveal key synthesis-structure relationships in zeolites. To that end, we introduce an aggregation SHAP approach to extend such analysis to explain the formation of composite building units (CBUs) of zeolites. Analysis at this unprecedented scale sheds light on key synthesis parameters driving zeolite crystallization.

Authors: Elton Pan (MIT)

ICLR 2024 Physics-informed Machine Learning-based Cloud Microphysics parameterization for Earth System Models (Papers Track)
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Abstract: In this study, we develop a physics-informed machine learning (ML)-based cloud microphysics parameterization for the ICON model. By training the ML parameterization on high-resolution simulation data, we aim to improve Earth System Models (ESMs) in comparison to traditional parameterization schemes. We investigate the usage of a multilayer perceptron (MLP) with feature engineering and physics-constraints, and use explainability techniques to understand the relationship between input features and model output. Our novel approach yields promising results, with the physics-informed ML-based cloud microphysics parameterization achieving an R$^2$ score up to 0.777 for an individual feature. Additionally, we demonstrate a notable improvement in the overall performance in comparison to a baseline MLP, increasing its average R$^2$ score from 0.290 to 0.613 across all variables. This approach to improve the representation of cloud microphysics in ESMs promises to enhance climate projections, contributing to a better understanding of climate change.

Authors: Ellen Sarauer (German Aerospace Center (DLR)); Mierk Schwabe (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany); Philipp Weiss (University of Oxford); Axel Lauer (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany); Philip Stier (University of Oxford); Veronika Eyring (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany; University of Bremen, Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), Bremen, Germany)

ICLR 2024 From spectra to biophysical insights: end-to-end learning with a biased radiative transfer model (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Advances in machine learning have boosted the use of Earth observation data for climate change research. Yet, the interpretability of machine-learned representations remains a challenge, particularly in understanding forests' biophysical reactions to climate change. Traditional methods in remote sensing that invert radiative transfer models (RTMs) to retrieve biophysical variables from spectral data often fail to account for biases inherent in the RTM, especially for complex forests. We propose to integrate RTMs into an auto-encoder architecture, creating an end-to-end learning approach. Our method not only corrects biases in RTMs but also outperforms traditional techniques for variable retrieval like neural network regression. Furthermore, our framework has potential generally for inverting biased physical models.

Authors: Yihang She (University of Cambridge); Clement Atzberger (Mantle Labs); Andrew Blake (University of Cambridge, Mantle Labs); Srinivasan Keshav (University of Cambridge)

ICLR 2024 Model Failure or Data Corruption? Exploring Inconsistencies in Building Energy Ratings with Self-Supervised Contrastive Learning (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Building Energy Rating (BER) stands as a pivotal metric, enabling building owners, policymakers, and urban planners to understand the energy-saving potential through improving building energy efficiency. As such, enhancing buildings' BER levels is expected to directly contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions and promote climate improvement. Nonetheless, the BER assessment process is vulnerable to missing and inaccurate measurements. In this study, we introduce CLEAR, a data-driven approach designed to scrutinize the inconsistencies in BER assessments through self-supervised contrastive learning. We validated the effectiveness of CLEAR using a dataset representing Irish building stocks. Our experiments uncovered evidence of inconsistent BER assessments, highlighting measurement data corruption within this real-world dataset.

Authors: Qian Xiao (Trinity College Dublin); Dan Liu (Trinity College Dublin); Kevin Credit (Maynooth University)

ICLR 2024 Interpretable Machine Learning for Extreme Events detection: An application to droughts in the Po River Basin (Papers Track)
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Abstract: The increasing frequency and intensity of drought events-periods of significant decrease in water availability-are among the most alarming impacts of climate change. Monitoring and detecting these events is essential to mitigate their impact on our society. However, traditional drought indices often fail to accurately detect such impacts as they mostly focus on single precursors. In this study, we leverage machine learning algorithms to define a novel data-driven, impact-based drought index reproducing as target the Vegetation Health Index, a satellite signal that directly assesses the vegetation status. We first apply novel dimensionality reduction methods that allow for interpretable spatial aggregation of features related to precipitation, temperature, snow, and lakes. Then, we select the most informative and non-redundant features through filter feature selection. Finally, linear supervised learning methods are considered, given the small number of samples and the aim of preserving interpretability. The experimental setting focuses on ten sub-basins of the Po River basin, but the aim is to design a machine learning-based workflow applicable on a large scale.

Authors: Paolo Bonetti (Politecnico di Milano); Matteo Giuliani (Politecnico di Milano); Veronica Cardigliano (Politecnico di Milano); Alberto Maria Metelli (Politecnico di Milano); Marcello Restelli (Politecnico di Milano); Andrea Castelletti (Politecnico di Milano)

ICLR 2024 Interpretable Machine Learning for power systems: Establishing Confidence in SHapley Additive exPlanationS (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Interpretable Machine Learning (IML) is expected to remove significant barriers for the application of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms in power systems. This work first seeks to showcase the benefits of SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) for understanding the outcomes of ML models, which are increasingly being used to optimise power systems with increasing share of Renewable Energy (RE), to support worldwide calls for decarbonisation and climate change. To do so, we demonstrate that the Power Transfer Distribution Factors (PTDF)—a power system physics-based linear sensitivity index—can be derived from the SHAP values. To do so, we take the derivatives of SHAP values from a ML model trained to learn line-flows from generator power-injections, using a DC power-flow case in a benchmark test network. In demonstrating that SHAP values can be related back to the physics that underpin the power system, we build confidence in the explanations SHAP can offer.

Authors: Tabia Ahmad (University of Strathclyde); Robert Hamilton (Shell); Panagiotis Papadopoulos (University of Manchester); Samuel Chevalier (University of Vermont); Ilgiz Murzakhanov (Technical University of Denmark); Rahul Nellikkath (Technical University of Denmark); Jochen Bernhard Stiasny (Technical University of Denmark); Spyros Chatzivasileiadis (Technical University of Denmark)

NeurIPS 2023 Southern Ocean Dynamics Under Climate Change: New Knowledge Through Physics-Guided Machine Learning (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Complex ocean systems such as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current play key roles in the climate, and current models predict shifts in their strength and area under climate change. However, the physical processes underlying these changes are not well understood, in part due to the difficulty of characterizing and tracking changes in ocean physics in complex models. Using the Antarctic Circumpolar Current as a case study, we extend the method Tracking global Heating with Ocean Regimes (THOR) to a mesoscale eddy permitting climate model and identify regions of the ocean characterized by similar physics, called dynamical regimes, using readily accessible fields from climate models. To this end, we cluster grid cells into dynamical regimes and train an ensemble of neural networks, allowing uncertainty quantification, to predict these regimes and track them under climate change. Finally, we leverage this new knowledge to elucidate the dynamical drivers of the identified regime shifts as noted by the neural network using the `explainability' methods SHAP and Layer-wise Relevance Propagation. A region undergoing a profound shift is where the Antarctic Circumpolar Current intersects the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, an area important for carbon draw-down and fisheries. In this region, THOR specifically reveals a shift in dynamical regime under climate change driven by changes in wind stress and interactions with bathymetry. Using this knowledge to guide further exploration, we find that as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current shifts north under intensifying wind stress, the dominant dynamical role of bathymetry weakens and the flow intensifies.

Authors: William J Yik (Harvey Mudd College); Maike Sonnewald (University of California, Davis); Mariana Clare (ECMWF); Redouane Lguensat (IPSL)

NeurIPS 2023 The Power of Explainability in Forecast-Informed Deep Learning Models for Flood Mitigation (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Floods can cause horrific harm to life and property. However, they can be mitigated or even avoided by the effective use of hydraulic structures such as dams, gates, and pumps. By pre-releasing water via these structures in advance of extreme weather events, water levels are sufficiently lowered to prevent floods. In this work, we propose FIDLAR, a Forecast Informed Deep Learning Architecture, achieving flood management in watersheds with hydraulic structures in an optimal manner by balancing out flood mitigation and unnecessary wastage of water via pre-releases. We perform experiments with FIDLAR using data from the South Florida Water Management District, which manages a coastal area that is highly prone to frequent storms and floods. Results show that FIDLAR performs better than the current state-of-the-art with several orders of magnitude speedup and with provably better pre-release schedules. The dramatic speedups make it possible for FIDLAR to be used for real-time flood management. The main contribution of this paper is the effective use of tools for model explainability, allowing us to understand the contribution of the various environmental factors towards its decisions.

Authors: Jimeng Shi (Florida International University); Vitalii Stebliankin (FIU); Giri Narasimhan (Florida International University)

NeurIPS 2023 Comparing Data-Driven and Mechanistic Models for Predicting Phenology in Deciduous Broadleaf Forests (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Understanding the future climate is crucial for informed policy decisions on climate change prevention and mitigation. Earth system models play an important role in predicting future climate, requiring accurate representation of complex sub- processes that span multiple time scales and spatial scales. One such process that links seasonal and interannual climate variability to cyclical biological events is tree phenology in deciduous forests. Phenological dates, such as the start and end of the growing season, are critical for understanding the exchange of carbon and water between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Mechanistic prediction of these dates is challenging. Hybrid modelling, which integrates data-driven approaches into complex models, offers a solution. In this work, as a first step towards this goal, train a deep neural network to predict a phenological index from meteorological time series. We find that this approach outperforms traditional process-based models. This highlights the potential of data-driven methods to improve climate predictions. We also analyze which variables and aspects of the time series influence the predicted onset of the season, in order to gain a better understanding of the advantages and limitations of our model.

Authors: Christian Reimers (Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry); David Hafezi Rachti (Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry); Guohua Liu (Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry); Alexander Winkler (Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry)

NeurIPS 2023 Integrating Building Survey Data with Geospatial Data: A Cluster-Based Ethical Approach (Papers Track)
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Abstract: This research paper delves into the unique energy challenges faced by Alaska, arising from its remote geographical location, severe climatic conditions, and heavy reliance on fossil fuels while emphasizing the shortage of comprehensive building energy data. The study introduces an ethical framework that leverages machine learning and geospatial techniques to enable the large-scale integration of data, facilitating the mapping of energy consumption data at the individual building level. Utilizing the Alaska Retrofit Information System (ARIS) and the USA Structures datasets, this framework not only identifies and acknowledges limitations inherent in existing datasets but also establishes a robust ethical foundation for data integration. This framework innovation sets a noteworthy precedent for the responsible utilization of data in the domain of climate justice research, ultimately informing the development of sustainable energy policies through an enhanced understanding of building data and advancing ongoing research agendas. Future research directions involve the incorporation of recently released datasets, which provide precise building location data, thereby further validating the proposed ethical framework and advancing efforts in addressing Alaska's intricate energy challenges.

Authors: Vidisha Chowdhury (University of Pennsylvania); Gabriela Gongora-Svartzman (Carnegie Mellon University); Erin D Trochim (University of Alaska Fairbanks); Philippe Schicker (Carnegie Mellon University)

ICLR 2023 Tutorial: Quantus x Climate - Applying explainable AI evaluation in climate science (Tutorials Track)
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Abstract: Explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) methods shed light on the predictions of deep neural networks (DNNs). In the climate context, XAI has been applied to improve and validate deep learning (DL) methods while providing researchers with new insight into physical processes. However, the evaluation, validation and selection of XAI methods are challenging due to often lacking ground truth explanations. In this tutorial, we introduce the XAI evaluation package Quantus to the climate community. We start by providing the users with pre-processed input and output data alongside a convolutional neural network (CNN) trained to assign yearly temperature maps to classes according to their decade. We explain the network prediction of an example temperature map using five different explanation techniques Gradient GradientShap, IntegratedGradients, LRP-z and Occlusion. By visually analyzing each explanation method around the North Atlantic (NA) cooling patch 10-80W, 20-60N, we provide a motivating example that shows that different explanations may disagree in their explained evidence which subsequently can lead to different scientific interpretation and potentially, misleading conclusions. We continue by introducing Quantus including the explanation properties that can be evaluated such as robustness, faithfulness, complexity, localization and randomization. We guide the participants towards a practical understanding of XAI evaluation by demonstrating how metrics differ in their scoring and interpretation. Moreover, we teach the participants to compare and select an appropriate XAI method by performing a comprehensive XAI evaluation. Lastly, we return to the motivating example, highlighting how Quantus can facilitate well-founded XAI research in climate science.

Authors: Philine L Bommer (TU Berlin); Anna Hedström (Technische Universität Berlin); Marlene Kretschmer (University of Reading); Marina M.-C. Höhne (TU Berlin)

ICLR 2023 Improving a Shoreline Forecasting Model with Symbolic Regression (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Given the current context of climate change and the increasing population densities at coastal zones around the globe, there is an increasing need to be able to predict the development of our coasts. Recent advances in artificial intelligence allow for automatic analysis of observational data. Symbolic Regression (SR) is a type of Machine Learning algorithm that aims to find interpretable symbolic expressions that can explain relations in the data. In this work, we aim to study the problem of forecasting shoreline change using SR. We make use of Cartesian Genetic Programming (CGP) in order to encode and improve upon ShoreFor, a physical shoreline prediction model. During training, CGP individuals are evaluated and selected according to their predictive score at five different coastal sites. This work presents a comparison between a CGP-evolved model and the base ShoreFor model. In addition to evolution's ability to produce well-performing models, it demonstrates the usefulness of SR as a research tool to gain insight into the behaviors of shorelines in various geographical zones.

Authors: Mahmoud AL NAJAR (Laboratory of Spatial Geophysics and Oceanography Studies); Rafael ALMAR (Laboratory of Spatial Geophysics and Oceanography Studies); Erwin BERGSMA (CNES); Jean-Marc DELVIT (CNES); Dennis Wilson (ISAE)

ICLR 2023 A simplified machine learning based wildfire ignition model from insurance perspective (Papers Track)
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Abstract: In the context of climate change, wildfires are becoming more frequent, intense, and prolonged in the western US, particularly in California. Wildfires cause catastrophic socio-economic losses and are projected to worsen in the near future. Inaccurate estimates of fire risk put further pressure on wildfire (re)insurance and cause many homes to lose wildfire insurance coverage. Efficient and effective prediction of fire ignition is one step towards better fire risk assessment. Here we present a simplified machine learning-based fire ignition model at yearly scale that is well suited to the use case of one-year term wildfire (re)insurance. Our model yields a recall, precision, and the area under the precision-recall curve of 0.69, 0.86 and 0.81, respectively, for California, and significantly higher values of 0.82, 0.90 and 0.90, respectively, for the populated area, indicating its good performance. In addition, our model feature analysis reveals that power line density, enhanced vegetation index (EVI), vegetation optical depth (VOD), and distance to the wildland-urban interface stand out as the most important features determining ignitions. The framework of this simplified ignition model could easily be applied to other regions or genesis of other perils like hurricane, and it paves the road to a broader and more affordable safety net for homeowners.

Authors: Yaling Liu (OurKettle Inc); Son Le (OurKettle Inc.); Yufei Zou (Our Kettle, Inc.); mojtaba Sadgedhi (OurKettle Inc.); Yang Chen (University of California, Irvine); Niels Andela (BeZero Carbon); Pierre Gentine (Columbia University)

ICLR 2023 Widespread increases in future wildfire risk to global forest carbon offset projects revealed by explainable AI (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Carbon offset programs are critical in the fight against climate change. One emerging threat to the long-term stability and viability of forest carbon offset projects is wildfires, which can release large amounts of carbon and limit the efficacy of associated offsetting credits. However, analysis of wildfire risk to forest carbon projects is challenging because existing models for forecasting long-term fire risk are limited in predictive accuracy. Therefore, we propose an explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) model trained on 7 million global satellite wildfire observations. Validation results suggest substantial potential for high resolution, enhanced accuracy projections of global wildfire risk, and the model outperforms the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research's leading fire model. Applied to a collection of 190 global forest carbon projects, we find that fire exposure is projected to increase 55% [37-76%] by 2080 under a mid-range scenario (SSP2-4.5). Our results indicate the large wildfire carbon project damages seen in the past decade are likely to become more frequent as forests become hotter and drier. In response, we hope the model can support wildfire managers, policymakers, and carbon market analysts to preemptively quantify and mitigate long-term permanence risks to forest carbon projects.

Authors: Tristan Ballard (Sust Inc); Gopal Erinjippurath (Sust Global); Matthew W Cooper (Sust Global); Chris Lowrie (Sust Global)

ICLR 2023 Sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasts through self-supervised learning (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) weather forecasts are an important decision- making tool that informs economical and logistical planning in agriculture, energy management, and disaster mitigation. They are issued on time scales of weeks to months and differ from short-term weather forecasts in two important ways: (i) the dynamics of the atmosphere on these timescales can be described only statistically and (ii) these dynamics are characterized by large-scale phenomena in both space and time. While deep learning (DL) has shown promising results in short-term weather forecasting, DL-based S2S forecasts are challenged by comparatively small volumes of available training data and large fluctuations in predictability due to atmospheric conditions. In order to develop more reliable S2S predictions that leverage current advances in DL, we propose to utilize the masked auto-encoder (MAE) framework to learn generic representations of large-scale atmospheric phenomena from high resolution global data. Besides exploring the suitability of the learned representations for S2S forecasting, we will also examine whether they account for climatic phenomena (e.g., the Madden-Julian Oscillation) that are known to increase predictability on S2S timescales.

Authors: Jannik Thuemmel (University of Tuebingen); Felix Strnad (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research); Jakob Schlör (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen); Martin V. Butz (University of Tübingen); Bedartha Goswami (University of Tübingen)

ICLR 2023 Mining Effective Strategies for Climate Change Communication (Papers Track)
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Abstract: With the goal of understanding effective strategies to communicate about climate change, we build interpretable models to rank tweets related to climate change with respect to the engagement they generate. Our models are based on the Bradley-Terry model of pairwise comparison outcomes and use a combination of the tweets’ topic and metadata features to do the ranking. To remove confounding factors related to author popularity and minimise noise, they are trained on pairs of tweets that are from the same author and around the same time period and have a sufficiently large difference in engagement. The models achieve good accuracy on a held-out set of pairs. We show that we can interpret the parameters of the trained model to identify the topic and metadata features that contribute to high engagement. Among other observations, we see that topics related to climate projections, human cost and deaths tend to have low engagement while those related to mitigation and adaptation strategies have high engagement. We hope the insights gained from this study will help craft effective climate communication to promote engagement, thereby lending strength to efforts to tackle climate change.

Authors: Aswin Suresh (EPFL); Lazar Milikic (EPFL); Francis Murray (EPFL); Yurui Zhu (EPFL); Matthias Grossglauser (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL))

ICLR 2023 Data-driven mean-variability optimization of PV portfolios with automatic differentiation (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Increasing PV capacities has a crucial role to reach carbon-neutral energy systems. To promote PV expansion, policy designs have been developed which rely on energy yield maximization to increase the total PV energy supply in energy systems. Focusing on yield maximization, however, ignores negative side-effects such as an increased variability due to similar-orientated PV systems at clustered regions. This can lead to costly ancillary services and thereby reduces the acceptance of renewable energy. This paper suggests to rethink PV portfolio designs by deriving mean-variability hedged PV portfolios with smartly orientated tilt and azimuth angles. Based on a data-driven method inspired from modern portfolio theory, we formulate the problem as a biobjective, non-convex optimization problem which is solved based on automatically differentiating the physical PV conversion model subject to individual tilt and azimuth angles. To illustrate the performance of the proposed method, a case study is designed to derive efficient frontiers in the mean-variability spectrum of Germany's PV portfolio based on representative grid points. The proposed method allows decision-makers to hedge between variability and yield in PV portfolio design decisions. This is the first study highlighting the problem of ignoring variability in PV portfolio expansion schemes and introduces a way to tackle this issue using modern methods inspired by Machine Learning.

Authors: Matthias Zech (German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Networked Energy Systems); Lueder von Bremen (German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Networked Energy Systems)

ICLR 2023 Understanding forest resilience to drought with Shapley values (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Increases in drought frequency, intensity, and duration due to climate change are threatening forests around the world. Climate-driven tree mortality is associated with devastating ecological and societal consequences, including the loss of carbon sequestration, habitat provisioning, and water filtration services. A spatially fine-grained understanding of the site characteristics making forests more resilient to drought is still lacking. Furthermore, the complexity of drought effects on forests, which can be cumulative and delayed, demands investigation of the most appropriate drought indices. In this study, we aim to gain a better understanding of the temporal and spatial drivers of drought-induced changes in forest vitality using Shapley values, which allow for the relevance of predictors to be quantified locally. A better understanding of the contribution of meteorological and environmental factors to trees’ response to drought can support forest managers aiming to make forests more climate-resilient.

Authors: Stenka Vulova (Technische Universität Berlin); Alby Duarte Rocha (Technische Universität Berlin); Akpona Okujeni (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin); Johannes Vogel (Freie Universität Berlin); Michael Förster (Technische Universität Berlin); Patrick Hostert (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin); Birgit Kleinschmit (Technische Universität Berlin)

ICLR 2023 XAI for transparent wind turbine power curve models (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Accurate wind turbine power curve models, which translate ambient conditions into turbine power output, are crucial for wind energy to scale and fulfill its proposed role in the global energy transition. While machine learning (ML) methods have shown significant advantages over parametric, physics-informed approaches, they are often criticized for being opaque "black boxes", which hinders their application in practice. We apply Shapley values, a popular explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) method, and the latest findings from XAI for regression models, to uncover the strategies ML models have learned from operational wind turbine data. Our findings reveal that the trend towards ever larger model architectures, driven by a focus on test set performance, can result in physically implausible model strategies. Therefore, we call for a more prominent role of XAI methods in model selection. Moreover, we propose a practical approach to utilize explanations for root cause analysis in the context of wind turbine performance monitoring. This can help to reduce downtime and increase the utilization of turbines in the field.

Authors: Simon Letzgus (Technische Universität Berlin)

ICLR 2023 Artificial Intelligence in Tropical Cyclone Forecasting (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Tropical cyclones (TC) in Bangladesh and other developing nations harm property and human lives. Theoretically, artificial intelligence (AI) can anticipate TC using tracking, intensity, and cyclone aftereffect phenomena. Although AI has a significant impact on predicting, poorer nations have struggled to adjust to its real-world applications. The interpretability of such a solution from an AI-based solution is the main factor in that situation, together with the infrastructure. Explainable AI has been extensively employed in the medical field because the outcome is so important. We believe that using explainable AI in TC forecasting is equally important as one large forecast can cause the thought of life loss. Additionally, it will improve the long-term viability of the AI-based weather forecasting system. To be more specific, we want to employ explainable AI in every way feasible in this study to address the problems of TC forecasting, intensity estimate, and tracking. We'll do this by using the graph neural network. The adoption of AI-based solutions in underdeveloped nations will be aided by this solution, which will boost their acceptance. With this effort, we also hope to tackle the challenge of sustainable AI in order to tackle the issue of climate change on a larger scale. However, Cyclone forecasting might be transformed by sustainable AI, guaranteeing precise and early predictions to lessen the effects of these deadly storms. The examination of vast volumes of meteorological data to increase forecasting accuracy is made possible by the combination of AI algorithms and cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and big data analytics. Improved accuracy is one of the main advantages of sustainable AI for cyclone prediction. To provide more precise forecasts, AI systems can evaluate a lot of meteorological data, including satellite imagery and ocean temperature readings.

Authors: Dr. Nusrat Sharmin (Military Institute of Science and Technology); Professor Dr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman Rahman (Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST)); Sabbir Rahman (Military Institute of Science and Technology); Mokhlesur Rahman (Military Institute of Science and Technology)

NeurIPS 2022 Attention-Based Scattering Network for Satellite Imagery (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Multi-channel satellite imagery, from stacked spectral bands or spatiotemporal data, have meaningful representations for various atmospheric properties. Combining these features in an effective manner to create a performant and trustworthy model is of utmost importance to forecasters. Neural networks show promise, yet suffer from unintuitive computations, fusion of high-level features, and may be limited by the quantity of available data. In this work, we leverage the scattering transform to extract high-level features without additional trainable parameters and introduce a separation scheme to bring attention to independent input channels. Experiments show promising results on estimating tropical cyclone intensity and predicting the occurrence of lightning from satellite imagery.

Authors: Jason Stock (Colorado State University); Charles Anderson (Colorado State University)

NeurIPS 2022 Discovering Interpretable Structural Model Errors in Climate Models (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Inaccuracies in the models of the Earth system, i.e., structural and parametric model errors, lead to inaccurate climate change projections. Errors in the model can originate from unresolved phenomena due to a low numerical resolution, as well as misrepresentations of physical phenomena or boundaries (e.g., orography). Therefore, such models lead to inaccurate short--term forecasts of weather and extreme events, and more importantly, long term climate projections. While calibration methods have been introduced to address for parametric uncertainties, e.g., by better estimation of system parameters from observations, addressing structural uncertainties, especially in an interpretable manner, remains a major challenge. Therefore, with increases in both the amount and frequency of observations of the Earth system, algorithmic innovations are required to identify interpretable representations of the model errors from observations. We introduce a flexible, general-purpose framework to discover interpretable model errors, and show its performance on a canonical prototype of geophysical turbulence, the two--level quasi--geostrophic system. Accordingly, a Bayesian sparsity--promoting regression framework is proposed, that uses a library of kernels for discovery of model errors. As calculating the library from noisy and sparse data (e.g., from observations) using convectional techniques leads to interpolation errors, here we use a coordinate-based multi--layer embedding to impute the sparse observations. We demonstrate the importance of alleviating spectral bias, and propose a random Fourier feature layer to reduce it in the proposed embeddings, and subsequently enable an accurate discovery. Our framework is demonstrated to successfully identify structural model errors due to linear and nonlinear processes (e.g., radiation, surface friction, advection), as well as misrepresented orography.

Authors: Rambod Mojgani (Rice University); Ashesh K Chattopadhyay (Rice University); Pedram Hassanzadeh (Rice University)

NeurIPS 2022 Scene-to-Patch Earth Observation: Multiple Instance Learning for Land Cover Classification (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Land cover classification (LCC), and monitoring how land use changes over time, is an important process in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Existing approaches that use machine learning with Earth observation data for LCC rely on fully-annotated and segmented datasets. Creating these datasets requires a large amount of effort, and a lack of suitable datasets has become an obstacle in scaling the use of LCC. In this study, we propose Scene-to-Patch models: an alternative LCC approach utilising Multiple Instance Learning (MIL) that requires only high-level scene labels. This enables much faster development of new datasets whilst still providing segmentation through patch-level predictions, ultimately increasing the accessibility of using LCC for different scenarios. On the DeepGlobe-LCC dataset, our approach outperforms non-MIL baselines on both scene- and patch-level prediction. This work provides the foundation for expanding the use of LCC in climate change mitigation methods for technology, government, and academia.

Authors: Joseph Early (University of Southampton); Ying-Jung C Deweese (Georgia Insititute of Technology); Christine Evers (University of Southampton); Sarvapali Ramchurn (University of Southampton)

NeurIPS 2022 Deep learning for downscaling tropical cyclone rainfall (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Flooding is often the leading cause of mortality and damages from tropical cyclones. With rainfall from tropical cyclones set to rise under global warming, better estimates of extreme rainfall are required to better support resilience efforts. While high resolution climate models capture tropical cyclone statistics well, they are computationally expensive leading to a trade-off between accuracy and generating enough ensemble members to generate sufficient high impact, low probability events. Often, downscaling models are used as a computationally cheaper alternative. Here, we develop and evaluate a set of deep learning models for downscaling tropical cyclone rainfall for more robust risk analysis.

Authors: Emily Vosper (University of Bristol); Lucy Harris (University of Oxford); Andrew McRae (University of Oxford); Laurence Aitchison (University of Bristol); Peter Watson (Bristol); Raul Santos Rodriguez (University of Bristol); Dann Mitchell (University of Bristol)

NeurIPS 2022 Explainable Multi-Agent Recommendation System for Energy-Efficient Decision Support in Smart Homes (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Transparent, understandable, and persuasive recommendations support the electricity consumers’ behavioral change to tackle the energy efficiency problem. This paper proposes an explainable multi-agent recommendation system for load shifting for household appliances. First, we extend a novel multi-agent approach by designing an Explainability Agent that provides explainable recommendations for optimal appliance scheduling in a textual and visual manner. Second, we enhance the predictive capacity of other agents by including weather data and applying state-of-the-art models (i.e., k-nearest-neighbours, extreme gradient boosting, adaptive boosting, random forest, logistic regression, and explainable boosting machines). Since we want to help the user understand a single recommendation, we focus on local explainability approaches. In particular, we apply post-model approaches LIME (local, interpretable, model-agnostic explanation) and SHAP (Shapley additive explanations) as model-agnostic tools that can explain the predictions of the chosen classifiers. We further provide an overview of the predictive and explainability performance. Our results show a substantial improvement in the performance of the multi-agent system while at the same time opening up the “black box” of recommendations. To show the pathway to positive impact regarding climate change, we provide a discussion on the potential impact of the suggested approach.

Authors: Alona Zharova (Humboldt University of Berlin); Annika Boer (Humboldt University of Berlin); Julia Knoblauch (Humboldt University of Berlin); Kai Ingo Schewina (Humboldt University of Berlin); Jana Vihs (Humboldt University of Berlin)

NeurIPS 2022 FIRO: A Deep-neural Network for Wildfire Forecast with Interpretable Hidden States (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Several wildfire danger systems have emerged from decades of research. One such system is the National Fire-Danger Rating System (NFDRS), which is used widely across the United States and is a key predictor in the Global ECMWF Fire Forecasting (GEFF) model. The NFDRS is composed of over 100 equations relating wildfire risk to weather conditions, climate and land cover characteristics, and fuel. These equations and the corresponding 130+ parameters were developed via field and lab experiments. These parameters, which are fixed in the standard NFDRS and GEFF implementations, may not be the most appropriate for a climate-changing world. In order to adjust the NFDRS parameters to current climate conditions and specific geographical locations, we recast NFDRS in PyTorch to create a new deep learning-based Fire Index Risk Optimizer (FIRO). FIRO predicts the ignition component, or the probability a wildfire would require suppression in the presence of a firebrand, and calibrates the uncertain parameters for a specific region and climate conditions by training on observed fires. Given the rare occurrence of wildfires, we employed the extremal dependency index (EDI) as the loss function. Using ERA5 reanalysis and MODIS burned area data, we trained FIRO models for California, Texas, Italy, and Madagascar. Across these four geographies, the average EDI improvement was 175% above the standard NFDRS implementation

Authors: Eduardo R Rodrigues (MSR); Campbell D Watson (IBM Reserch); Bianca Zadrozny (IBM Research); Gabrielle Nyirjesy (Columbia University)

NeurIPS 2022 Forecasting European Ozone Air Pollution With Transformers (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Surface ozone is an air pollutant that contributes to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths annually. Accurate short-term ozone forecasts may allow improved policy to reduce the risk to health, such as air quality warnings. However, forecasting ozone is a difficult problem, as surface ozone concentrations are controlled by a number of physical and chemical processes which act on varying timescales. Accounting for these temporal dependencies appropriately is likely to provide more accurate ozone forecasts. We therefore deploy a state-of-the-art transformer-based model, the Temporal Fusion Transformer, trained on observational station data from three European countries. In four-day test forecasts of daily maximum 8-hour ozone, the novel approach is highly skilful (MAE = 4.6 ppb, R2 = 0.82), and generalises well to two European countries unseen during training (MAE = 4.9 ppb, R2 = 0.79). The model outperforms standard machine learning models on our data, and compares favourably to the published performance of other deep learning architectures tested on different data. We illustrate that the model pays attention to physical variables known to control ozone concentrations, and that the attention mechanism allows the model to use relevant days of past ozone concentrations to make accurate forecasts.

Authors: Seb Hickman (University of Cambridge); Paul Griffiths (University of Cambridge); Alex Archibald (University of Cambridge); Peer Nowack (Imperial College London); Elie Alhajjar (USMA)

NeurIPS 2022 Remote estimation of geologic composition using interferometric synthetic-aperture radar in California’s Central Valley (Papers Track)
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Abstract: California's Central Valley is the national agricultural center, producing 1/4 of the nation’s food. However, land in the Central Valley is sinking at a rapid rate (as much as 20 cm per year) due to continued groundwater pumping. Land subsidence has a significant impact on infrastructure resilience and groundwater sustainability. In this study, we aim to identify specific regions with different temporal dynamics of land displacement and find relationships with underlying geological composition. Then, we aim to remotely estimate geologic composition using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)-based land deformation temporal changes using machine learning techniques. We identified regions with different temporal characteristics of land displacement in that some areas (e.g., Helm) with coarser grain geologic compositions exhibited potentially reversible land deformation (elastic land compaction). We found a significant correlation between InSAR-based land deformation and geologic composition using random forest and deep neural network regression models. We also achieved significant accuracy with 1/4 sparse sampling to reduce any spatial correlations among data, suggesting that the model has the potential to be generalized to other regions for indirect estimation of geologic composition. Our results indicate that geologic composition can be estimated using InSAR-based land deformation data. In-situ measurements of geologic composition can be expensive and time consuming and may be impractical in some areas. The generalizability of the model sheds light on high spatial resolution geologic composition estimation utilizing existing measurements.

Authors: Kyongsik Yun (California Institute of Technology); Kyra Adams (California Institute of Technology); John Reager (California Institute of Technology); Zhen Liu (California Institute of Technology); Caitlyn Chavez (California Institute of Technology); Michael Turmon (California Institute of Technology); Thomas Lu (California Institute of Technology)

NeurIPS 2022 Heat Demand Forecasting with Multi-Resolutional Representation of Heterogeneous Temporal Ensemble (Papers Track)
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Abstract: One of the primal challenges faced by utility companies is ensuring efficient supply with minimal greenhouse gas emissions. The advent of smart meters and smart grids provide an unprecedented advantage in realizing an optimised supply of thermal energies through proactive techniques such as load forecasting. In this paper, we propose a forecasting framework for heat demand based on neural networks where the time series are encoded as scalograms equipped with the capacity of embedding exogenous variables such as weather, and holiday/non-holiday. Subsequently, CNNs are utilized to predict the heat load multi-step ahead. Finally, the proposed framework is compared with other state-of-the-art methods, such as SARIMAX and LSTM. The quantitative results from retrospective experiments show that the proposed framework consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art baseline method with real-world data acquired from Denmark. A minimal mean error of 7.54% for MAPE and 417kW for RMSE is achieved with the proposed framework in comparison to all other methods.

Authors: Satyaki Chatterjee (Pattern Recognition Lab, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg); Adithya Ramachandran (Pattern Recognition Lab, Friedrich Alexander University, Erlangen); Thorkil Flensmark Neergaard (Brønderslev Forsyning A/S); Andreas K Maier (Pattern Recognition Lab, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg); Siming Bayer (Pattern Recognition Lab, Friedrich-Alexander University)

NeurIPS 2022 Identifying Compound Climate Drivers of Forest Mortality with β-VAE (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Climate change is expected to lead to higher rates of forest mortality. Forest mortality is a complex phenomenon driven by the interaction of multiple climatic variables at multiple temporal scales, further modulated by the current state of the forest (e.g. age, stem diameter, and leaf area index). Identifying the compound climate drivers of forest mortality would greatly improve understanding and projections of future forest mortality risk. Observation data are, however, limited in accuracy and sample size, particularly in regard to forest state variables and mortality events. In contrast, simulations with state-of-the-art forest models enable the exploration of novel machine learning techniques for associating forest mortality with driving climate conditions. Here we simulate 160,000 years of beech, pine and spruce forest dynamics with the forest model FORMIND. We then apply β-VAE to learn disentangled latent representations of weather conditions and identify those that are most likely to cause high forest mortality. The learned model successfully identifies three characteristic climate representations that can be interpreted as different compound drivers of forest mortality.

Authors: Mohit Anand (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ); Lily-belle Sweet (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ); Gustau Camps-Valls (Universitat de València); Jakob Zscheischler (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ)

NeurIPS 2022 Estimating Corporate Scope 1 Emissions Using Tree-Based Machine Learning Methods (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Companies worldwide contribute to climate change, emitting significant amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Yet, most do not report their direct or Scope 1 emissions, resulting in a large data gap in corporate emissions. This study aims to fill this gap by training several decision-tree machine learning models to predict company-level Scope 1 emissions. Our results demonstrate that the Extreme Gradient Boosting and LightGBM models perform best, where the former shows a 19% improvement in prediction error over a benchmark model. Our model is also of reduced complexity and greater computational efficiency; it does not require meta-learners and is trained on a smaller number of features, for which data is more common and accessible compared to prior works. Our features are uniquely chosen based on concepts of environmental pollution in economic theory. Predicting corporate emissions with machine learning can be used as a gap-filling approach, which would allow for better GHG accounting and tracking, thus facilitating corporate decarbonization efforts in the long term. It can also impact representations of a company’s carbon performance and carbon risks, thereby helping to funnel investments towards companies with lower emissions and those making true efforts to decarbonize.

Authors: Elham Kheradmand (University of Montreal); Maida Hadziosmanovic (Concordia University); Nazim Benguettat (Concordia); H. Damon Matthews (Concordia University); Shannon M. Lloyd (Concordia University)

NeurIPS 2022 An Interpretable Model of Climate Change Using Correlative Learning (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Determining changes in global temperature and precipitation that may indicate climate change is complicated by annual variations. One approach for finding potential climate change indicators is to train a model that predicts the year from annual means of global temperatures and precipitations. Such data is available from the CMIP6 ensemble of simulations. Here a two-hidden-layer neural network trained on this data successfully predicts the year. Differences among temperature and precipitation patterns for which the model predicts specific years reveal changes through time. To find these optimal patterns, a new way of interpreting what the neural network has learned is explored. Alopex, a stochastic correlative learning algorithm, is used to find optimal temperature and precipitation maps that best predict a given year. These maps are compared over multiple years to show how temperature and precipitations patterns indicative of each year change over time.

Authors: Charles Anderson (Colorado State University); Jason Stock (Colorado State University)

NeurIPS 2022 Deep-S2SWind: A data-driven approach for improving Sub-seasonal wind predictions (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: A major transformation to mitigate climate change implies a rapid decarbonisation of the energy system and thus, increasing the use of renewable energy sources, such as wind power. However, renewable resources are strongly dependent on local and large-scale weather conditions, which might be influenced by climate change. Weather-related risk assessments are essential for the energy sector, in particular, for power system management decisions, for which forecasts of climatic conditions from several weeks to months (i.e. sub-seasonal scales) are of key importance. Here, we propose a data-driven approach to predict wind speed at longer lead-times that can benefit the energy sector. The main goal of this study is to assess the potential of machine learning algorithms to predict periods of low wind speed conditions that have a strong impact on the energy sector.

Authors: Noelia Otero Felipe (University of Bern); Pascal Horton (University of Bern)

NeurIPS 2022 Interpretable Spatiotemporal Forecasting of Arctic Sea Ice Concentration at Seasonal Lead Times (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: There are many benefits from the accurate forecasting of Arctic sea ice, however existing models struggle to reliably predict sea ice concentration at long lead times. Many numerical models exist but can be sensitive to initial conditions, and while recent deep learning-based methods improve overall robustness, they either do not utilize temporal trends or rely on architectures that are not performant at learning long-term sequential dependencies. We propose a method of forecasting sea ice concentration using neural circuit policies, a form of continuous time recurrent neural architecture, which improve the learning of long-term sequential dependencies compared to existing techniques and offer the added benefits of adaptability to irregular sequence intervals and high interpretability.

Authors: Matthew Beveridge (Independent Researcher); Lucas Pereira (ITI, LARSyS, Técnico Lisboa)

AAAI FSS 2022 De-risking Carbon Capture and Sequestration with Explainable CO2 Leakage Detection in Time-lapse Seismic Monitoring Images
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Abstract: With the growing global deployment of carbon capture and sequestration technology to combat climate change, monitoring and detection of potential CO2 leakage through existing or storage induced faults are critical to the safe and long-term viability of the technology. Recent work on time-lapse seismic monitoring of CO2 storage has shown promising results in its ability to monitor the growth of the CO2 plume from surface recorded seismic data. However, due to the low sensitivity of seismic imaging to CO2 concentration, additional developments are required to efficiently interpret the seismic images for leakage. In this work, we introduce a binary classification of time-lapse seismic images to delineate CO2 plumes (leakage) using state-of-the-art deep learning models. Additionally, we localize the leakage region of CO2 plumes by leveraging Class Activation Mapping (CAM) methods.

Authors: Huseyin Tuna Erdinc (Georgia Institute of Technology), Abhinav Prakash Gahlot (Georgia Institute of Technology), Ziyi Yin (Georgia Institute of Technology), Mathias Louboutin (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Felix J. Herrmann (Georgia Institute of Technology)

AAAI FSS 2022 Predicting Wildfire Risk Under Novel 21st-Century Climate Conditions
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Abstract: Wildfires are one of the most impactful hazards associated with climate change, and in a hotter, drier world, wildfires will be much more common than they have historically been. However, the exact severity and frequency of future wildfires are difficult to estimate, because climate change will create novel combinations of vegetation and fire weather outside what has been historically observed. This provides a challenge for AI-based approaches to long-term fire risk modeling, as much future fire risk is outside of the available feature space provided by the historical record. Here, we give an overview of this problem that is inherent to many climate change impacts and propose a restricted model form that makes monotonic and interpretable predictions in novel fire weather environments. We then show how our model outperforms other neural networks and logistic regression models when making predictions on unseen data from a decade into the future.

Authors: Matthew Cooper (Sust Global).

NeurIPS 2021 Identifying Distributional Differences in Convective Evolution Prior to Rapid Intensification in Tropical Cyclones (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Tropical cyclone (TC) intensity forecasts are issued by human forecasters who evaluate spatio-temporal observations (e.g., satellite imagery) and model output (e.g., numerical weather prediction, statistical models) to produce forecasts every 6 hours. Within these time constraints, it can be challenging to draw insight from such data. While high-capacity machine learning methods are well suited for prediction problems with complex sequence data, extracting interpretable scientific information with such methods is difficult. Here we leverage powerful AI prediction algorithms and classical statistical inference to identify patterns in the evolution of TC convective structure leading up to the rapid intensification of a storm, hence providing forecasters and scientists with key insight into TC behavior.

Authors: Irwin H McNeely (Carnegie Mellon University); Galen Vincent (Carnegie Mellon University); Rafael Izbicki (UFSCar); Kimberly Wood (Mississippi State University); Ann B. Lee (Carnegie Mellon University)

NeurIPS 2021 PreDisM: Pre-Disaster Modelling With CNN Ensembles for At-Risk Communities (Papers Track)
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Abstract: The machine learning community has recently had increased interest in the climate and disaster damage domain due to a marked increased occurrences of natural hazards (e.g., hurricanes, forest fires, floods, earthquakes). However, not enough attention has been devoted to mitigating probable destruction from impending natural hazards. We explore this crucial space by predicting building-level damages on a before-the-fact basis that would allow state actors and non-governmental organizations to be best equipped with resource distribution to minimize or preempt losses. We introduce PreDisM that employs an ensemble of ResNets and fully connected layers over decision trees to capture image-level and meta-level information to accurately estimate weakness of man-made structures to disaster-occurrences. Our model performs well and is responsive to tuning across types of disasters and highlights the space of preemptive hazard damage modelling.

Authors: Vishal Anand (Columbia University); Yuki Miura (Columbia University)

ICML 2021 Physics-Informed Graph Neural Networks for Robust Fault Location in Power Grids (Papers Track) Best Paper: ML Innovation
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Abstract: The reducing cost of renewable energy resources, such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind farms, is accelerating global energy transformation to mitigate climate change. However, a high level of intermittent renewable energy causes power grids to have more stability issues. This accentuates the need for quick location of system failures and follow-up control actions. In recent events such as in California, line failures have resulted in large-scale wildfires leading to loss of life and property. In this article, we propose a two-stage graph learning framework to locate power grid faults in the challenging but practical regime characterized by (a) sparse observations, (b) low label rates, and (c) system variability. Our approach embeds the geometrical structure of power grids into the graph neural networks (GNN) in stage I for fast fault location, and then stage II further enhances the location accuracy by employing the physical similarity of the labeled and unlabeled data samples. We compare our approach with three baselines in the IEEE 123-node benchmark system and show that it outperforms the others by significant margins in various scenarios.

Authors: Wenting Li (Los Alamos National Laboratory); Deepjyoti Deka (Los Alamos National Laboratory)

ICML 2021 Revealing the impact of global warming on climate modes using transparent machine learning and a suite of climate models (Papers Track)
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Abstract: The ocean is key to climate through its ability to store and transport heat and carbon. From studies of past climates, it is clear that the ocean can exhibit a range of dramatic variability that could have catastrophic impacts on society, such as changes in rainfall, severe weather, sea level rise and large scale climate patterns. The mechanisms of change remain obscure, but are explored using a transparent machine learning method, Tracking global Heating with Ocean Regimes (THOR) presented here. We investigate two future scenarios, one where CO2 is increased by 1% per year, and one where CO2 is abruptly quadrupled. THOR is engineered combining interpretable and explainable methods to reveal its source of predictive skill. At the core of THOR, is the identification of dynamically coherent regimes governing the circulation, a fundamental question within oceanography. Three key regions are investigated here. First, the North Atlantic circulation that delivers heat to the higher latitudes is seen to weaken and we identify associated dynamical changes. Second, the Southern Ocean circulation, the strongest circulation on earth, is seen to intensify where we reveal the implications for interactions with the ice on Antarctica. Third, shifts in ocean circulation regimes are identified in the tropical Pacific region, with potential impacts on the El Nino Southern Oscillation, Earth’s dominant source of year-to-year climate variations affecting weather extremes, ecosystems, agriculture, and fisheries. Together with revealing these climatically relevant ocean dynamics, THOR also constitutes a step towards trustworthy machine learning called for within oceanography and beyond because its predictions are physically tractable. We conclude with by highlighting open questions and potentially fruitful avenues of further machine learning applications to climate research.

Authors: Maike Sonnewald (Princeton University); Redouane Lguensat (LSCE-IPSL); Aparna Radhakrishnan (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory); Zoubero Sayibou (Bronx Community College); Venkatramani Balaji (Princeton University); Andrew Wittenberg (NOAA)

ICML 2021 Probabilistic Short-Term Low-Voltage Load Forecasting using Bernstein-Polynomial Normalizing Flows (Papers Track)
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Abstract: The transition to a fully renewable energy grid requires better forecasting of demand at the low-voltage level. However, high fluctuations and increasing electrification cause huge forecast errors with traditional point estimates. Probabilistic load forecasts take future uncertainties into account and thus enables various applications in low-carbon energy systems. We propose an approach for flexible conditional density forecasting of short-term load based on Bernstein-Polynomial Normalizing Flows where a neural network controls the parameters of the flow. In an empirical study with 363 smart meter customers, our density predictions compare favorably against Gaussian and Gaussian mixture densities and also outperform a non-parametric approach based on the pinball loss for 24h-ahead load forecasting for two different neural network architectures.

Authors: Marcel Arpogaus (Konstanz University of Applied Sciences); Marcus Voß (Technische Universität Berlin (DAI-Labor)); Beate Sick (ZHAW and University of Zurich); Mark Nigge-Uricher (Bosch.IO GmbH); Oliver Dürr (Konstanz University of Applied Sciences)

ICML 2021 Learning Granger Causal Feature Representations (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Tackling climate change needs to understand the complex phenomena occurring on the Planet. Discovering teleconnection patterns is an essential part of the endeavor. Events like El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) impact essential climate variables at large distances, and influence the underlying Earth system dynamics. However, their automatic identification from the wealth of observational data is still unresolved. Nonlinearities, nonstationarities and the (ab)use of correlation analyses hamper the discovery of true causal patterns. We here introduce a deep learning methodology that extracts nonlinear latent functions from spatio-temporal Earth data and that are Granger causal with the index altogether. We illustrate its use to study the impact of ENSO on vegetation, which allows for a more rigorous study of impacts on ecosystems globally.

Authors: Gherardo Varando (Universitat de València); Miguel-Ángel Fernández-Torres (Universitat de València); Gustau Camps-Valls (Universitat de València)

ICML 2021 Short-term Hourly Streamflow Prediction with Graph Convolutional GRU Networks (Papers Track)
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Abstract: The frequency and impact of floods are expected to increase due to climate change. It is crucial to predict streamflow, consequently flooding, in order to prepare and mitigate its consequences in terms of property damage and fatalities. This paper presents a Graph Convolutional GRUs based model to predict the next 36 hours of streamflow for a sensor location using the upstream river network. As shown in experiment results, the model presented in this study provides better performance than the persistence baseline and a Convolutional Bidirectional GRU network for the selected study area in short-term streamflow prediction.

Authors: Muhammed A Sit (The University of Iowa); Bekir Demiray (The University of Iowa); Ibrahim Demir (The University of Iowa)

NeurIPS 2020 Is Africa leapfrogging to renewables or heading for carbon lock-in? A machine-learning-based approach to predicting success of power-generation projects (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Several extant energy-planning studies, comprising wide-ranging assumptions about the future, feature projections of Africa’s rapid transition in the next decade towards renewables-based power generation. Here, we develop a novel empirical approach to predicting medium-term generation mix that can complement traditional energy planning. Relying on the largest dataset on historic and planned power plants available for Africa, combined with country-level characteristics, we build a machine-learning-based model, using gradient boosted trees, that demonstrates high predictive performance. Training our model on past successful and failed projects, we find that the most relevant factors for commissioning are plant-level: capacity, fuel, ownership and grid connection type. We then apply the trained model to predict the realisation of the current project pipeline. Contrary to the rapid transition scenarios, our results show that the share of non-hydro renewables in generation is likely to remain below 10% in 2030, despite total generation more than doubling. These findings point to high carbon lock-in risks in Africa, highlighting the urgency to shift its pipeline of projects towards low-carbon energy and improve the realisation chances of renewable energy plants.

Authors: Galina Alova (University of Oxford); Philipp Trotter (University of Oxford); Alex Money (University of Oxford)

NeurIPS 2020 Meta-modeling strategy for data-driven forecasting (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Accurately forecasting the weather is a key requirement for climate change mitigation. Data-driven methods offer the ability to make more accurate forecasts, but lack interpretability and can be expensive to train and deploy if models are not carefully developed. Here, we make use of two historical climate data sets and tools from machine learning, to accurately predict temperature fields. Furthermore, we are able to use low fidelity models that are cheap to train and evaluate, to selectively avoid expensive high fidelity function evaluations, as well as uncover seasonal variations in predictive power. This allows for an adaptive training strategy for computationally efficient geophysical emulation.

Authors: Dominic J Skinner (MIT); Romit Maulik (Argonne National Laboratory)

NeurIPS 2020 Quantitative Assessment of Drought Impacts Using XGBoost based on the Drought Impact Reporter (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Under climate change, the increasing frequency, intensity, and spatial extent of drought events lead to higher socio-economic costs. However, the relationships between the hydro-meteorological indicators and drought impacts are not identified well yet because of the complexity and data scarcity. In this paper, we proposed a framework based on the extreme gradient model (XGBoost) for Texas to predict multi-category drought impacts and connected a typical drought indicator, Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), to the text-based impacts from the Drought Impact Reporter (DIR). The preliminary results of this study showed an outstanding performance of the well-trained models to assess drought impacts on agriculture, fire, society & public health, plants & wildlife, as well as relief, response & restrictions in Texas. It also provided a possibility to appraise drought impacts using hydro-meteorological indicators with the proposed framework in the United States, which could help drought risk management by giving additional information and improving the updating frequency of drought impacts. Our interpretation results using the Shapley additive explanation (SHAP) interpretability technique revealed that the rules guiding the predictions of XGBoost comply with domain expertise knowledge around the role that SPI indicators play around drought impacts.

Authors: Beichen Zhang (University of Nebraska-Lincoln); Fatima K Abu Salem (American University of Beirut); Michael Hayes (University of Nebraska-Lincoln); Tsegaye Tadesse (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

NeurIPS 2020 Interpretability in Convolutional Neural Networks for Building Damage Classification in Satellite Imagery (Papers Track)
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Abstract: Natural disasters ravage the world's cities, valleys, and shores on a monthly basis. Having precise and efficient mechanisms for assessing infrastructure damage is essential to channel resources and minimize the loss of life. Using a dataset that includes labeled pre- and post- disaster satellite imagery, we train multiple convolutional neural networks to assess building damage on a per-building basis. In order to investigate how to best classify building damage, we present a highly interpretable deep-learning methodology that seeks to explicitly convey the most useful information required to train an accurate classification model. We also delve into which loss functions best optimize these models. Our findings include that ordinal-cross entropy loss is the most optimal loss function to use and that including the type of disaster that caused the damage in combination with a pre- and post-disaster image best predicts the level of damage caused. Our research seeks to computationally contribute to aiding in this ongoing and growing humanitarian crisis, heightened by climate change.

Authors: Thomas Y Chen (The Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering)

NeurIPS 2020 Explaining Complex Energy Systems: A Challenge (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Designing future low-carbon, sector-coupled energy systems is a complex task. The work is therefore often supported by software tools that model and optimize possible energy systems. These tools typically have high dimensional inputs and outputs and are tailored towards domain experts. The final investment decisions to implement a certain system, however, are mostly made by people with little time and prior knowledge, thus unable to understand models and their input data used in these tools. Since such decisions are often connected to significant personal consequences for the decision makers, it is not enough for them to rely on experts only. They need an own, at least rough understanding. Explaining the key rationales behind complex energy system designs to non-expert decision makers in a short amount of time is thus a critical task for realizing projects of the energy transition in practice. It is also an interesting, novel challenge for the explainable AI community.

Authors: Jonas Hülsmann (TU Darmstadt); Florian Steinke (TU Darmstadt)

NeurIPS 2020 Structural Forecasting for Tropical Cyclone Intensity Prediction: Providing Insight with Deep Learning (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Tropical cyclone (TC) intensity forecasts are ultimately issued by human forecasters. The human in-the-loop pipeline requires that any forecasting guidance must be easily digestible by TC experts if it is to be adopted at operational centers like the National Hurricane Center. Our proposed framework leverages deep learning to provide forecasters with something neither end-to-end prediction models nor traditional intensity guidance does: a powerful tool for monitoring high-dimensional time series of key physically relevant predictors and the means to understand how the predictors relate to one another and to short-term intensity changes.

Authors: Irwin H McNeely (Carnegie Mellon University); Kimberly Wood (Mississippi State University); Niccolo Dalmasso (Carnegie Mellon University); Ann Lee (Carnegie Mellon University)

NeurIPS 2020 Wildfire Smoke and Air Quality: How Machine Learning Can Guide Forest Management (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Prescribed burns are currently the most effective method of reducing the risk of widespread wildfires, but a largely missing component in forest management is knowing which fuels one can safely burn to minimize exposure to toxic smoke. Here we show how machine learning, such as spectral clustering and manifold learning, can provide interpretable representations and powerful tools for differentiating between smoke types, hence providing forest managers with vital information on effective strategies to reduce climate-induced wildfires while minimizing production of harmful smoke.

Authors: Lorenzo Tomaselli (Carnegie Mellon University); Coty Jen (Carnegie Mellon University); Ann Lee (Carnegie Mellon University)

NeurIPS 2020 Graph Neural Networks for Improved El Niño Forecasting (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Deep learning-based models have recently outperformed state-of-the-art seasonal forecasting models, such as for predicting El Ni\~no-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). However, current deep learning models are based on convolutional neural networks which are difficult to interpret and can fail to model large-scale atmospheric patterns called teleconnections. Hence, we propose the application of spatiotemporal Graph Neural Networks (GNN) to forecast ENSO at long lead times, finer granularity and improved predictive skill than current state-of-the-art methods. The explicit modeling of information flow via edges may also allow for more interpretable forecasts. Preliminary results are promising and outperform state-of-the art systems for projections 1 and 3 months ahead.

Authors: Salva Rühling Cachay (Technical University of Darmstadt); Emma Erickson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Arthur F C Bucker (University of São Paulo); Ernest J Pokropek (Warsaw University of Techology); Willa Potosnak (Duquesne University); Salomey Osei (African Master's of Machine Intelligence(AMMI-GH)); Björn Lütjens (MIT)

NeurIPS 2020 Expert-in-the-loop Systems Towards Safety-critical Machine Learning Technology in Wildfire Intelligence (Proposals Track)
Abstract and authors: (click to expand)

Abstract: With the advent of climate change, wildfires are becoming more frequent and severe across several regions worldwide. To prevent and mitigate its effects, wildfire intelligence plays a pivotal role, e.g. to monitor the evolution of wildfires and for early detection in high-risk areas such as wildland-urban-interface regions. Recent works have proposed deep learning solutions for fire detection tasks, however the current limited databases prevent reliable real-world deployments. We propose the development of expert-in-the-loop systems that combine the benefits of semi-automated data annotation with relevant domain knowledge expertise. Through this approach we aim to improve the data curation process and contribute to the generation of large-scale image databases for relevant wildfire tasks and empower the application of machine learning techniques in wildfire intelligence in real scenarios.

Authors: Maria João Sousa (IDMEC, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa); Alexandra Moutinho (IDMEC, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa); Miguel Almeida (ADAI, University of Coimbra)

NeurIPS 2020 ACED: Accelerated Computational Electrochemical systems Discovery (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: Large-scale electrification is vital to addressing the climate crisis, but many engineering challenges remain to fully electrifying both the chemical industry and transportation. In both of these areas, new electrochemical materials and systems will be critical, but developing these systems currently relies heavily on computationally expensive first-principles simulations as well as human-time-intensive experimental trial and error. We propose to develop an automated workflow that accelerates these computational steps by introducing both automated error handling in generating the first-principles training data as well as physics-informed machine learning surrogates to further reduce computational cost. It will also have the capacity to include automated experiments ``in the loop'' in order to dramatically accelerate the overall materials discovery pipeline.

Authors: Rachel C Kurchin (CMU); Eric Muckley (Citrine Informatics); Lance Kavalsky (CMU); Vinay Hegde (Citrine Informatics); Dhairya Gandhi (Julia Computing); Xiaoyu Sun (CMU); Matthew Johnson (MIT); Alan Edelman (MIT); James Saal (Citrine Informatics); Christopher V Rackauckas (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Bryce Meredig (Citrine Informatics); Viral Shah (Julia Computing); Venkat Viswanathan (Carnegie Mellon University)

NeurIPS 2020 Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Modeling for Understanding the Oceans and Climate Change (Proposals Track)
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Abstract: These changes will have a drastic impact on almost all forms of life in the ocean with further consequences on food security, ecosystem services in coastal and inland communities. Despite these impacts, scientific data and infrastructures are still lacking to understand and quantify the consequences of these perturbations on the marine ecosystem. Understanding this phenomenon is not only an urgent but also a scientifically demanding task. Consequently, it is a problem that must be addressed with a scientific cohort approach, where multi-disciplinary teams collaborate to bring the best of different scientific areas. In this proposal paper, we describe our newly launched four-years project focused on developing new artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mathematical modeling tools to contribute to the understanding of the structure, functioning, and underlying mechanisms and dynamics of the global ocean symbiome and its relation with climate change. These actions should enable the understanding of our oceans and predict and mitigate the consequences of climate change.

Authors: Nayat Sánchez Pi (Inria); Luis Martí (Inria); André Abreu (Fountation Tara Océans); Olivier Bernard (Inria); Colomban de Vargas (CNRS); Damien Eveillard (Univ. Nantes); Alejandro Maass (CMM, U. Chile); Pablo Marquet (PUC); Jacques Sainte-Marie (Inria); Julien Salomin (Inria); Marc Schoenauer (INRIA); Michele Sebag (LRI, CNRS, France)