13 Oct 2023
 | 13 Oct 2023

TorchClim v1.0: A deep-learning framework for climate model physics

David Fuchs, Steven C. Sherwood, Abhnil Prasad, Kirill Trapeznikov, and Jim Gimlett

Abstract. Climate models are hindered by the need to conceptualize and then parameterize complex physical processes that are not explicitly numerically resolved and for which no rigorous theory exists. Machine learning and artificial intelligence methods (ML/AI) offer a promising paradigm that can augment or replace the traditional parametrized approach with models trained on empirical process data. We offer a flexible and efficient framework, TorchClim, for inserting ML/AI physics surrogates that respect the parallelization of the climate model. A reference implementation of this approach is presented for the Community Earth System Model (CESM), where the authors substitute moist physics and radiative parametrization of the Community Atmospheric Model (CAM) with an ML/AI model. We show that a deep neural network surrogate trained on data from CAM itself can produce a stable model that reproduces the climate and variability of the original model, albeit with some biases. This framework is offered to the research community as an open-source project. The new framework seamlessly integrates into CAM's workflow and code-base and runs with negligible added computational cost, allowing rapid testing of various ML physics surrogates. The efficiency and flexibility of this framework open up new possibilities for using physics surrogates trained on offline data to improve climate model performance and better understand model physical processes.

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David Fuchs, Steven C. Sherwood, Abhnil Prasad, Kirill Trapeznikov, and Jim Gimlett

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1954', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Nov 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', David Fuchs, 17 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1954', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Dec 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', David Fuchs, 17 Apr 2024
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1954', Dominic Orchard, 07 Dec 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on CC1', David Fuchs, 17 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1954', Anonymous Referee #3, 19 Mar 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', David Fuchs, 17 Apr 2024
David Fuchs, Steven C. Sherwood, Abhnil Prasad, Kirill Trapeznikov, and Jim Gimlett

Model code and software

Github repository David Fuchs

David Fuchs, Steven C. Sherwood, Abhnil Prasad, Kirill Trapeznikov, and Jim Gimlett


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Short summary
Machine learning (ML) of unresolved processes offers many new possibilities for improving weather and climate models, but integrating ML into the models has been an engineering challenge, and there are performance issues. We present a new software framework for this integration, TorchClim, that is scalable, fast, and flexible, and thereby allows a new level of experimentation with the ML approach. We also provide guidance on ML training and demonstrate a skillful hybrid-ML atmosphere model.