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Katie Kirk, Gregory Dusek, Philippe Tissot, and William Sweet

Abstract

The demand for nearshore wave observations is increasing due to spatial gaps and the importance of observations for accurate models and better understanding of inundation processes. Here, we show how water level (WL) standard deviation (sigma, σ) measurements at three acoustic NOAA tide gauges that utilize an Aquatrak sensor [Duck, North Carolina, Bob Hall Pier (BHP) in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lake Worth, Florida] can be used as a proxy for significant wave height (H m0). Sigma-derived H m0 is calibrated to best fit nearby wave observations and error is quantified through RMSE, normalized RMSE (NRMSE), bias, and a scatter index. At Duck and Lake Worth, a quadratic fit of sigma to nearby wave observations results in a R 2 of 0.97 and 0.83, RMSE of 0.11 and 0.11 m, and NRMSE of 0.09 and 0.22, respectively. A linear fit between BHP sigma and H m0 is best, resulting in R 2 0.62, RMSE of 0.22, and NRMSE of 0.26. Regression fits deviate across NOAA stations and from the classic relationship of H m0 = 4σ, indicating H m0 cannot be accurately estimated with this approach at these Aquatrak sites. The dynamic water level (DWL = still WL ± 2σ) is calculated over the historic time series showing climatological and seasonal trends in the stations’ daily maximums. The historical DWL and sigma wave proxy could be calculated for many NOAA tide gauges dating back to 1996. These historical wave observations can be used to fill observational spatial gaps, validate models, and improve understanding of wave climates.

Significance Statement

There is a large spatial gap in nearshore real-time observational wave data that can provide critical information to researchers and resource managers regarding inundation and erosion, help validate coastal hydrodynamic models, and provide the maritime community with products that help ensure navigational safety. This study utilizes existing infrastructure to help fill the demand for nearshore wave observations by deriving a proxy for wave height at three sites. This work shows spatial variability in the regression fits across the sites, which should be explored at more stations in future work. Multidecadal length time series were also used at the sites to investigate climatological and seasonal trends that provide insight into wave climates and wave driven processes important for coastal flooding.

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Sue Ellen Haupt, David John Gagne, William W. Hsieh, Vladimir Krasnopolsky, Amy McGovern, Caren Marzban, William Moninger, Valliappa Lakshmanan, Philippe Tissot, and John K. Williams

Abstract

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become important tools for environmental scientists and engineers, both in research and in applications. Although these methods have become quite popular in recent years, they are not new. The use of AI methods began in the 1950s and environmental scientists were adopting them by the 1980s. Although an “AI winter” temporarily slowed the growth, a more recent resurgence has brought it back with gusto. This paper tells the story of the evolution of AI in the field through the lens of the AMS Committee on Artificial Intelligence Applications to Environmental Science. The environmental sciences possess a host of problems amenable to advancement by intelligent techniques. We review a few of the early applications along with the ML methods of the time and how their progression has impacted these sciences. While AI methods have changed from expert systems in the 1980s to neural networks and other data-driven methods, and more recently deep learning, the environmental problems tackled have remained similar. We discuss the types of applications that have shown some of the biggest advances due to AI usage and how they have evolved over the past decades, including topics in weather forecasting, probabilistic prediction, climate estimation, optimization problems, image processing, and improving forecasting models. We finish with a look at where AI as employed in environmental science appears to be headed and some thoughts on how it might be best blended with physical/dynamical modeling approaches to further advance our science.

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Amy McGovern, Ann Bostrom, Phillip Davis, Julie L. Demuth, Imme Ebert-Uphof, Ruoying He, Jason Hickey, David John Gagne II, Nathan Snook, Jebb Q. Stewart, Christopher Thorncroft, Philippe Tissot, and John K. Williams

Abstract

We introduce the National Science Foundation (NSF) AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate, and Coastal Oceanography (AI2ES). This AI institute was funded in 2020 as part of a new initiative from the NSF to advance foundational AI research across a wide variety of domains. To date AI2ES is the only NSF AI institute focusing on environmental science applications. Our institute focuses on developing trustworthy AI methods for weather, climate, and coastal hazards. The AI methods will revolutionize our understanding and prediction of high-impact atmospheric and ocean science phenomena and will be utilized by diverse, professional user groups to reduce risks to society. In addition, we are creating novel educational paths, including a new degree program at a community college serving underrepresented minorities, to improve workforce diversity for both AI and environmental science.

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Sid-Ahmed Boukabara, Vladimir Krasnopolsky, Stephen G. Penny, Jebb Q. Stewart, Amy McGovern, David Hall, John E. Ten Hoeve, Jason Hickey, Hung-Lung Allen Huang, John K. Williams, Kayo Ide, Philippe Tissot, Sue Ellen Haupt, Kenneth S. Casey, Nikunj Oza, Alan J. Geer, Eric S. Maddy, and Ross N. Hoffman

Abstract

Promising new opportunities to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to the Earth and environmental sciences are identified, informed by an overview of current efforts in the community. Community input was collected at the first National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) workshop on “Leveraging AI in the Exploitation of Satellite Earth Observations and Numerical Weather Prediction” held in April 2019. This workshop brought together over 400 scientists, program managers, and leaders from the public, academic, and private sectors in order to enable experts involved in the development and adaptation of AI tools and applications to meet and exchange experiences with NOAA experts. Paths are described to actualize the potential of AI to better exploit the massive volumes of environmental data from satellite and in situ sources that are critical for numerical weather prediction (NWP) and other Earth and environmental science applications. The main lessons communicated from community input via active workshop discussions and polling are reported. Finally, recommendations are presented for both scientists and decision-makers to address some of the challenges facing the adoption of AI across all Earth science.

Open access
Sid-Ahmed Boukabara, Vladimir Krasnopolsky, Stephen G. Penny, Jebb Q. Stewart, Amy McGovern, David Hall, John E. Ten Hoeve, Jason Hickey, Hung-Lung Allen Huang, John K. Williams, Kayo Ide, Philippe Tissot, Sue Ellen Haupt, Kenneth S. Casey, Nikunj Oza, Alan J. Geer, Eric S. Maddy, and Ross N. Hoffman

Capsule Summary

Current research applying artificial intelligence to the Earth and environmental sciences is progressing quickly, with emerging developments in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and discovery.

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