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Workshop: Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning

Towards a spatially transferable super resolution model for downscaling Antarctic surface melt

Zhongyang Hu · Yao Sun · Peter Kuipers Munneke · Stef Lhermitte · Xiaoxiang Zhu


Surface melt on the Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important climate indicator, yet the spatial scale of modeling and observing surface melt is insufficient to capture crucial details and understand local processes. High-resolution climate models could provide a solution, but they are computationally expensive and require finetuning for some model parameters. An alternative method, pioneering in geophysics, is single-image super resolution (SR) applied on lower-resolution model output. However, often input and output of such SR models are available on the same, fixed spatial domain. High-resolution model simulations over Antarctica are available only in some regions. To be able to apply an SR model elsewhere, we propose to make the single-image SR model physics-aware, using surface albedo and elevation as additional input. Our results show a great improvement in the spatial transferability of the conventional SR model. Although issues with the input satellite-derived albedo remain, adding physics awareness paves a way toward a spatially transferable SR model for downscaling Antarctic surface melt.

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