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Workshop: Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences

Neural Fields for Fast and Scalable Interpolation of Geophysical Ocean Variables

Juan Emmanuel Johnson · Redouane Lguensat · ronan fablet · Emmanuel Cosme · Julien Le Sommer


Optimal Interpolation (OI) is a widely used, highly trusted algorithm for interpolation and reconstruction problems in geosciences. With the influx of more satellite missions, we have access to more and more observations and it is becoming more pertinent to take advantage of these observations in applications such as forecasting and reanalysis. With the increase of the volume of available data, scalability remains an issue for standard OI and it prevents many practitioners from effectively and efficiently taking advantage of these large sums of data to learn the model hyperparameters. In this work, we leverage recent advances in Neural Fields (NerFs) as an alternative to the OI framework where we show how they can be easily applied to standard reconstruction problems in physical oceanography. We illustrate the relevance of NerFs for gap-filling of sparse measurements of sea surface height (SSH) via satellite altimetry and demonstrate how NerFs are scalable with comparable results to the standard OI. We find that NerFs are a practical set of methods that can be readily applied to geoscience interpolation problems and we anticipate a wider adoption in the future.

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