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  1. Abstract

    Climate-mediated changes in thermal stress can destabilize animal populations and promote extinction risk. However, risk assessments often focus on changes in mean temperatures and thus ignore the role of temporal variability or structure. Using Earth System Model projections, we show that significant regional differences in the statistical distribution of temperature will emerge over time and give rise to shifts in the mean, variability and persistence of thermal stress. Integrating these trends into mathematical models that simulate the dynamical and cumulative effects of thermal stress on the performance of 38 globally distributed ectotherm species revealed complex regional changes in population stability over the twenty-first century, with temperate species facing higher risk. Yet despite their idiosyncratic effects on stability, projected temperatures universally increased extinction risk. Overall, these results show that the effects of climate change may be more extensive than previously predicted on the basis of the statistical relationship between biological performance and average temperature.

     
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  2. Numerical models based on physics represent the state of the art in Earth system modeling and comprise our best tools for generating insights and predictions. Despite rapid growth in computational power, the perceived need for higher model resolutions overwhelms the latest generation computers, reducing the ability of modelers to generate simulations for understanding parameter sensitivities and characterizing variability and uncertainty. Thus, surrogate models are often developed to capture the essential attributes of the full-blown numerical models. Recent successes of machine learning methods, especially deep learning (DL), across many disciplines offer the possibility that complex nonlinear connectionist representations may be able to capture the underlying complex structures and nonlinear processes in Earth systems. A difficult test for DL-based emulation, which refers to function approximation of numerical models, is to understand whether they can be comparable to traditional forms of surrogate models in terms of computational efficiency while simultaneously reproducing model results in a credible manner. A DL emulation that passes this test may be expected to perform even better than simple models with respect to capturing complex processes and spatiotemporal dependencies. Here, we examine, with a case study in satellite-based remote sensing, the hypothesis that DL approaches can credibly represent the simulations from a surrogate model with comparable computational efficiency. Our results are encouraging in that the DL emulation reproduces the results with acceptable accuracy and often even faster performance. We discuss the broader implications of our results in light of the pace of improvements in high-performance implementations of DL and the growing desire for higher resolution simulations in the Earth sciences. 
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  3. Climate-mediated changes in the spatiotemporal distribution of thermal stress can destabilize animal populations and promote extinction risk. Using quantile, spectral, and wavelet analyses of temperature projections from the latest generation of earth system models, we show that significant regional differences are expected to arise in the way that temperatures will increase over time. When integrated into empirically-parameterized mathematical models that simulate the dynamical and cumulative effects of thermal stress on the performance of 38 global ectotherm species, the projected spatiotemporal changes in temperature fluctuations are expected to give rise to complex regional changes in population abundance and stability over the course of the 21st century. However, despite their idiosyncratic effects on stability, projected temperatures universally increase extinction risk. These results show that population changes under future climate conditions may be more extensive and complex than the current literature suggests based on the statistical relationship between biological performance and average temperature. 
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  4. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a semi-periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature (SST) over the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean that influences interannual variability in regional hydrology across the world through long-range dependence or teleconnections. Recent research has demonstrated the value of Deep Learning (DL) methods for improving ENSO prediction as well as Complex Networks (CN) for understanding teleconnections. However, gaps in predictive understanding of ENSO-driven river flows include the black box nature of DL, the use of simple ENSO indices to describe a complex phenomenon and translating DL-based ENSO predictions to river flow predictions. Here we show that eXplainable DL (XDL) methods, based on saliency maps, can extract interpretable predictive information contained in global SST and discover novel SST information regions and dependence structures relevant for river flows which, in tandem with climate network constructions, enable improved predictive understanding. Our results reveal additional information content in global SST beyond ENSO indices, develop new understanding of how SSTs influence river flows, and generate improved river flow predictions with uncertainties. Observations, reanalysis data, and earth system model simulations are used to demonstrate the value of the XDL-CN based methods for future interannual and decadal scale climate projections. 
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  5. Advances in neural architecture search, as well as explainability and interpretability of connectionist architectures, have been reported in the recent literature. However, our understanding of how to design Bayesian Deep Learning (BDL) hyperparameters, specifically, the depth, width and ensemble size, for robust function mapping with uncertainty quantification, is still emerging. This paper attempts to further our understanding by mapping Bayesian connectionist representations to polynomials of different orders with varying noise types and ratios. We examine the noise-contaminated polynomials to search for the combination of hyperparameters that can extract the underlying polynomial signals while quantifying uncertainties based on the noise attributes. Specifically, we attempt to study the question that an appropriate neural architecture and ensemble configuration can be found to detect a signal of any n-th order polynomial contaminated with noise having different distributions and signal-to-noise (SNR) ratios and varying noise attributes. Our results suggest the possible existence of an optimal network depth as well as an optimal number of ensembles for prediction skills and uncertainty quantification, respectively. However, optimality is not discernible for width, even though the performance gain reduces with increasing width at high values of width. Our experiments and insights can be directional to understand theoretical properties of BDL representations and to design practical solutions. 
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  6. Urban air pollution is a public health challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, LMICs lack adequate air quality (AQ) monitoring infrastructure. A persistent challenge has been our inability to estimate AQ accurately in LMIC cities, which hinders emergency preparedness and risk mitigation. Deep learning-based models that map satellite imagery to AQ can be built for high-income countries (HICs) with adequate ground data. Here we demonstrate that a scalable approach that adapts deep transfer learning on satellite imagery for AQ can extract meaningful estimates and insights in LMIC cities based on spatiotemporal patterns learned in HIC cities. The approach is demonstrated for Accra in Ghana, Africa, with AQ patterns learned from two US cities, specifically Los Angeles and New York. 
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