Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Emulating Numeric Hydroclimate Models with Physics-Informed cGANs

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 10:20
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Process-based numerical simulation, including for climate modeling applications, is compute- and resource-intensive, requiring extensive customization and hand-engineering for encoding governing equations and other domain knowledge. On the other hand, modern deep learning employs a much simplified and efficient computational workflow, and has been showing impressive results across myriad applications in computational sciences. In this work, we investigate the potential of deep generative learning models, specifically conditional Generative Adversarial Networks (cGANs), to simulate the output of a physics-based model of the spatial distribution of the water content of mountain snowpack, or snow water equivalent (SWE). We show preliminary results indicating that the cGANs model is able to learn mappings between meteorological forcing (e.g., minimum and maximum temperature, wind speed, net radiation, and precipitation) and SWE output. Moreover, informing the model with simple domain-inspired physical constraints results in higher model accuracy, and lower training time. Thus Physics-Informed cGANs provide a means for fast and accurate SWE modeling that can have significant impact in a variety of applications (e.g., hydropower forecasting, agriculture, and water supply management).

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