1.4 Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling and Air Quality Forecasting Using a Regression Forest Model

Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:30 AM
Room 7 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Christoph A. Keller, NASA GMAO/USRA, Greenbelt, MD; and M. Evans

Atmospheric chemistry is central to many environmental issues such as air pollution, climate change, and stratospheric ozone loss. Chemistry Transport Models (CTM) are a central tool for understanding these issues, whether for research or for forecasting. These models split the atmosphere in a large number of grid-boxes and consider the emission of compounds into these boxes and their subsequent transport, deposition, and chemical processing. The chemistry is represented through a series of simultaneous ordinary differential equations, one for each compound. Given the difference in life-times between the chemical compounds (milli-seconds for O1D to years for CH4) these equations are numerically stiff and solving them consists of a significant fraction of the computational burden of a CTM.

We have investigated a machine learning approach to solving the differential equations instead of solving them numerically. From an annual simulation of the GEOS-Chem model we have produced a training dataset consisting of the concentration of compounds before and after the differential equations are solved, together with some key physical parameters for every grid-box and time-step. From this dataset we have trained a machine learning algorithm (regression forest) to be able to predict the concentration of the compounds after the integration step based on the concentrations and physical state at the beginning of the time step. We have then included this algorithm back into the GEOS-Chem model, bypassing the need to integrate the chemistry.

This machine learning approach shows many of the characteristics of the full simulation and has the potential to be substantially faster. There are a wide range of application for such an approach - generating boundary conditions, for use in air quality forecasts, chemical data assimilation systems, centennial scale climate simulations etc. We discuss our approches' speed and accuracy, and highlight some potential future directions for improving this approach.

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