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Atmospheric Sciences


Downscaling methods are critical in efficiently generating high-resolution atmospheric data. However, state-of-the-art statistical or dynamical downscaling techniques either suffer from the high computational cost of running a physical model or require high-resolution data to develop a downscaling tool. Here, we demonstrate a recently proposed zero-shot super-resolution method, the Fourier neural operator (FNO), to efficiently perform downscaling without the need for high-resolution data. Because the FNO learns dynamics in Fourier space, FNO is a resolution-invariant emulator; it can be trained at a coarse resolution and produces emulation at any high resolution. We applied FNO to downscale a 4-km resolution Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model simulation of near-surface heat-related variables over the Great Lakes region. The FNO is driven by the atmospheric forcings and topographic features used in the WRF model at the same resolution. We incorporated a physics-constrained loss in FNO by using the Clausius–Clapeyron relation to better constrain the relations among the emulated states. Trained on merely 600 WRF snapshots at 4-km resolution, the FNO shows comparable performance with a widely-used convolutional network, U-Net, achieving averaged modified Kling–Gupta Efficiency of 0.88 and 0.94 on the test data set for temperature and pressure, respectively. We then employed the FNO to produce 1-km emulations to reproduce the fine climate features. Further, by taking the WRF simulation as ground truth, we show consistent performances at the two resolutions, suggesting the reliability of FNO in producing high-resolution dynamics. Our study demonstrates the potential of using FNO for zero-shot super-resolution in generating first-order estimation on atmospheric modeling.

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© 2023 UChicago Argonne, LLC and Battelle Memorial Institution. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems


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