Multivariate Emulation of Kilometer-Scale Numerical Weather Predictions with Generative Adversarial Networks: A Proof of Concept

Brochet, Clément ; Raynaud, Laure ; Thome, Nicolas ; Plu, Matthieu ; Rambour, Clément

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<p align=justify>Emulating numerical weather prediction (NWP) model outputs is important to compute large datasets of weather fields in an efficient way. The purpose of the present paper is to investigate the ability of generative adversarial networks (GANs) to emulate distributions of multivariate outputs (10-m wind and 2-m temperature) of a kilometer-scale NWP model. For that purpose, a residual GAN architecture, regularized with spectral normalization, is trained against a kilometer-scale dataset from the AROME Ensemble Prediction System (AROME-EPS). A wide range of metrics is used for quality assessment, including pixelwise and multiscale Earth-mover distances, spectral analysis, and correlation length scales. The use of wavelet-based scattering coefficients as meaningful metrics is also presented. The GAN generates samples with good distribution recovery and good skill in average spectrum reconstruction. Important local weather patterns are reproduced with a high level of detail, while the joint generation of multivariate samples matches the underlying AROME-EPS distribution. The different metrics introduced describe the GAN's behavior in a complementary manner, highlighting the need to go beyond spectral analysis in generation quality assessment. An ablation study then shows that removing variables from the generation process is globally beneficial, pointing at the GAN limitations to leverage cross-variable correlations. The role of absolute positional bias in the training process is also characterized, explaining both accelerated learning and quality-diversity trade-off in the multivariate emulation. These results open perspectives about the use of GAN to enrich NWP ensemble approaches, provided that the aforementioned positional bias is properly controlled.</p>
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