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Title: Explaining Full-disk Deep Learning Model for Solar Flare Prediction using Attribution Methods
Solar flares are transient space weather events that pose a significant threat to space and ground-based technological systems, making their precise and reliable prediction crucial for mitigating potential impacts. This paper contributes to the growing body of research on deep learning methods for solar flare prediction, primarily focusing on highly overlooked near-limb flares and utilizing the attribution methods to provide a post hoc qualitative explanation of the model’s predictions. We present a solar flare prediction model, which is trained using hourly full-disk line-of-sight magnetogram images and employs a binary prediction mode to forecast ≥M-class flares that may occur within the following 24-hour period. To address the class imbalance, we employ a fusion of data augmentation and class weighting techniques; and evaluate the overall performance of our model using the true skill statistic (TSS) and Heidke skill score (HSS). Moreover, we applied three attribution methods, namely Guided Gradient-weighted Class Activation Mapping, Integrated Gradients, and Deep Shapley Additive Explanations, to interpret and cross-validate our model’s predictions with the explanations. Our analysis revealed that full-disk prediction of solar flares aligns with characteristics related to active regions (ARs). In particular, the key findings of this study are: (1) our deep learning models achieved an average TSS∼0.51 and HSS∼0.35, and the results further demonstrate a competent capability to predict near-limb solar flares and (2) the qualitative analysis of the model’s explanation indicates that our model identifies and uses features associated with ARs in central and near-limb locations from full-disk magnetograms to make corresponding predictions. In other words, our models learn the shape and texture-based characteristics of flaring ARs even when they are at near-limb areas, which is a novel and critical capability that has significant implications for operational forecasting.  more » « less
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European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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