EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Building a physics-constrained, fast and stable machine learning-based radiation emulator

Guillaume Bertoli1, Sebastian Schemm1, Firat Ozdemir2, Fernando Perez Cruz2, and Eniko Szekely2
Guillaume Bertoli et al.
  • 1ETHZ, Atmospheric and Climate Science, Environmental Systems Science, Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2Swiss Data Science Center, Zürich, Switzerland

Modelling the transfer of radiation through the atmosphere is a key component of weather and climate models. The operational radiation scheme in the Icosahedral Nonhydrostatic Weather and Climate Model (ICON) is ecRad. The radiation scheme ecRad is accurate but computationally expensive. It is operationally run in ICON on a grid coarser than the dynamical grid and the time step interval between two calls is significantly larger. This is known to reduce the quality of the climate prediction. A possible approach to accelerate the computation of the radiation fluxes is to use machine learning methods. Machine learning methods can significantly speed up computation of radiation, but they may cause climate drifts if they do not respect essential physical laws. In this work, we study random forest and neural network emulations of ecRad. We study different strategies to compare the stability of the emulations. Concerning the neural network, we compare loss functions with an additional energy penalty term and we observe that modifying the loss function is essential to predict accurately the heating rates. The random forest emulator, which is significantly faster to train than the neural network is used as a reference model that the neural network must outperform. The random forest emulator can become extremely accurate but the memory requirement quickly become prohibitive. Various numerical experiments are performed to illustrate the properties of the machine learning emulators.

How to cite: Bertoli, G., Schemm, S., Ozdemir, F., Perez Cruz, F., and Szekely, E.: Building a physics-constrained, fast and stable machine learning-based radiation emulator, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3418,, 2023.