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  1. Fluctuations in temperature and precipitation are expected to increase with global climate change, with more frequent, more intense and longer-lasting extreme events, posing greater challenges for the security of global food production. Here we proposed a generic framework to assess the impact of climate-induced crop yield risk under both current and future scenarios by combining a stochastic model for synthetic climate generation with a well-validated statistical crop yield model. The synthetic climate patterns were generated using the extended Empirical Orthogonal Function method based on historically observed and projected climate conditions. We applied our framework to assess the corn and soybean yield risk in the U.S. Midwest for historical and future climate conditions. We found that: (1) in the U.S. Midwest, about 45% and 40% of the interannual variability in corn and soybean yield, respectively, can be explained by the climate; (2) the risk level is higher in the southwest and northwest regions of the U.S. Midwest corresponding to 25% yield reduction for both corn and soybean compared to other regions; (3) the severity for the 1988 and 2012 major droughts quantified by our method represent 21-year and 30-year events for corn, and 7-year and 12-year events for soybean, respectively; (4)more »the crop yield risk will increase under a future climate scenario (i.e., Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 or RCP 8.5 at 2050) compared with the current climate condition, with averaged yield decreases and yield variability increases for both corn and soybean. The framework and the results of this study enable applications for risk management policies and practices for the agriculture sectors.« less
  2. The application of machine learning models and algorithms towards describing atomic interactions has been a major area of interest in materials simulations in recent years, as machine learning interatomic potentials (MLIPs) are seen as being more flexible and accurate than their classical potential counterparts. This increase in accuracy of MLIPs over classical potentials has come at the cost of significantly increased complexity, leading to higher computational costs and lower physical interpretability and spurring research into improving the speeds and interpretability of MLIPs. As an alternative, in this work we leverage “machine learning” fitting databases and advanced optimization algorithms to fit a class of spline-based classical potentials, showing that they can be systematically improved in order to achieve accuracies comparable to those of low-complexity MLIPs. These results demonstrate that high model complexities may not be strictly necessary in order to achieve near-DFT accuracy in interatomic potentials and suggest an alternative route towards sampling the high accuracy, low complexity region of model space by starting with forms that promote simpler and more interpretable inter- atomic potentials.
  3. null (Ed.)
    Spatial extremes are common for climate data as the observations are usually referenced by geographic locations and dependent when they are nearby. An important goal of extremes modeling is to estimate the T-year return level. Among the methods suitable for modeling spatial extremes, perhaps the simplest and fastest approach is the spatial generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution and the spatial generalized Pareto distribution (GPD) that assume marginal independence and only account for dependence through the parameters. Despite the simplicity, simulations have shown that return level estimation using the spatial GEV and spatial GPD still provides satisfactory results compared to max-stable processes, which are asymptotically justified models capable of representing spatial dependence among extremes. However, the linear functions used to model the spatially varying coefficients are restrictive and may be violated.We propose a flexible and fast approach based on the spatial GEV and spatial GPD by introducing fused lasso and fused ridge penalty for parameter regularization. This enables improved return level estimation for large spatial extremes compared to the existing methods. Supplemental files for this article are available online.
  4. Predicting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemiology is vital for achieving public health mile- stones. Incorporating spatial dependence when data varies by region can often provide better prediction results, at the cost of computational efficiency. However, with the growing number of covariates available that capture the data variability, the benefit of a spatial model could be less crucial. We investigate this conjecture by considering both non-spatial and spatial models for county-level HIV prediction over the US. Due to many counties with zero HIV incidences, we utilize a two-part model, with one part esti- mating the probability of positive HIV rates and the other estimating HIV rates of counties not classified as zero. Based on our data, the compound of logistic regression and a generalized estimating equation outperforms the candidate models in making predictions. The results suggest that considering spatial correlation for our data is not necessarily advantageous when the purpose is making predictions.
  5. Abstract Skillful subseasonal prediction of extreme heat and precipitation greatly benefits multiple sectors, including water management, public health, and agriculture, in mitigating the impact of extreme events. A statistical model is developed to predict the weekly frequency of extreme warm days and 14-day standardized precipitation index (SPI) during boreal summer in the United States (US). We use a leading principal component of US soil moisture and an index based on the North Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) as predictors. The model outperforms the NCEP’s Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2) at weeks 3-4 in the eastern US. It is found that the North Pacific SST anomalies persist several weeks and are associated with a persistent wave train pattern (WTZ500), which leads to increased occurrences of blocking and extreme temperature over the eastern US. Extreme dry soil moisture conditions persist into week 4 and are associated with an increase in sensible heat flux and decrease in latent heat flux, which may help maintain the overlying anticyclone. The clear sky conditions associated with blocking anticyclones further decrease soil moisture conditions and increase the frequency of extreme warm days. This skillful statistical model has the potential to aid in irrigation scheduling, crop planning,more »reservoir operation, and provide mitigation of impacts from extreme heat events.« less
  6. Reliable statistical inference is central to forest ecology and management, much of which seeks to estimate population parameters for forest attributes and ecological indicators for biodiversity, functions and services in forest ecosystems. Many populations in nature such as plants or animals are characterized by aggregation of tendencies, introducing a big challenge to sampling. Regardless, a biased or imprecise inference would mislead analysis, hence the conclusion and policymaking. Systematic adaptive cluster sampling (SACS) is designunbiased and particularly efficient for inventorying spatially clustered populations. However, (1) oversampling is common for nonrare variables, making SACS a difficult choice for inventorying common forest attributes or ecological indicators; (2) a SACS sample is not completely specified until the field campaign is completed, making advance budgeting and logistics difficult; (3) even for rare variables, uncertainty regarding the final sample still persists; and (4) a SACS sample may be variable-specific as its formation can be adapted to a particular attribute or indicator, thus risking imbalance or non-representativeness for other jointly observed variables. Consequently, to solve these challenges, we aim to develop a generalized SACS (GSACS) with respect to the design and estimators, and to illustrate its connections with systematic sampling (SS) as has been widely employed bymore »national forest inventories and ecological observation networks around the world. In addition to theoretical derivations, empirical sampling distributions were validated and compared for GSACS and SS using sampling simulations that incorporated a comprehensive set of forest populations exhibiting different spatial patterns. Five conclusions are relevant: (1) in contrast to SACS, GSACS explicitly supports inventorying forest attributes and ecological indicators that are nonrare, and solved SACS problems of oversampling, uncertain sample form, and sample imbalance for alternative attributes or indicators; (2) we demonstrated that SS is a special case of GSACS; (3) even with fewer sample plots, GSACS gives estimates identical to SS; (4) GSACS outperforms SS with respect to inventorying clustered populations and for making domain-specific estimates; and (5) the precision in design-based inference is negatively correlated with the prevalence of a spatial pattern, the range of spatial autocorrelation, and the sample plot size, in a descending order.« less
  7. The relationships between crop yields and meteorology are naturally non-stationary because of spatiotemporal heterogeneity. Many studies have examined spatial heterogeneity in the regression model, but only limited research has attempted to account for both spatial autocorrelation and temporal variation. In this article, we develop a novel spatiotemporally varying coefficient (STVC) model to understand non-stationary relationships between crop yields and meteorological variables. We compare the proposed model with variant models specialized for time or spatial, namely spatial varying coefficient (SVC) model and temporal varying coefficient (TVC) model. This study was conducted using the county-level corn yield and meteorological data, including seasonal Growing Degree Days (GDD), Killing Degree Days (KDD), Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD), and precipitation (PCPN), from 1981 to 2018 in three Corn Belt states, including Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Allowing model coefficients varying in both temporal and spatial dimensions gives the best performance of STVC in simulating the corn yield responses toward various meteorological conditions. The STVC reduced the root-mean-square error to 10.64 Bu/Ac (0.72 Mg/ha) from 15.68 Bu/Ac (1.06 Mg/ha) for TVC and 16.48 Bu/Ac (1.11 Mg/ha) for SVC. Meanwhile, the STVC resulted in a higher R2 of 0.81 compared to 0.56 for SVC and 0.64 for TVC. Themore »STVC showed better performance in handling spatial dependence of corn production, which tends to cluster estimation residuals when counties are close, with the lowest Moran’s I of 0.10. Considering the spatiotemporal non-stationarity, the proposed model significantly improves the power of the meteorological data in explaining the variations of corn yields.« less
  8. Doping remains a bottleneck in discovering novel functional materials for applications such as thermoelectrics (TE) and photovoltaics. The current computational approach to materials discovery is to identify candidates by predicting the functional properties of a pool of known materials, and hope that the candidates can be appropriately doped. What if we could “design” new materials that have the desired functionalities and doping properties? In this work, we use an approach, wherein we perform chemical replacements in a prototype structure, to realize doping by design. We hypothesize that the doping characteristics and functional performance of the prototype structure are translated to the new compounds created by chemical replacements. Discovery of new n-type Zintl phases is desirable for TE; however, n-type Zintl phases are a rarity. We demonstrate our doping design strategy by discovering 7 new, previously-unreported ABX 4 Zintl phases that adopt the prototypical KGaSb 4 structure. Among the new phases, we computationally confirm that NaAlSb 4 , NaGaSb 4 and CsInSb 4 are n-type dopable and potentially exhibit high n-type TE performance, even exceeding that of KGaSb 4 . Our structure prototyping approach offers a promising route to discovering new materials with designed doping and functional properties.
  9. omparing the spatial characteristics of spatiotemporal random fields is often at demand. However, the comparison can be challenging due to the high-dimensional feature and dependency in the data. We develop a new multiple testing approach to detect local differences in the spatial characteristics of two spatiotemporal random fields by taking the spatial information into account. Our method adopts a twocomponent mixture model for location wise p-values and then derives a new false discovery rate (FDR) control, called mirror procedure, to determine the optimal rejection region. This procedure is robust to model misspecification and allows for weak dependency among hypotheses. To integrate the spatial heterogeneity, we model the mixture probability as well as study the benefit if any of allowing the alternative distribution to be spatially varying. AnEM-algorithm is developed to estimate the mixture model and implement the FDR procedure. We study the FDR control and the power of our new approach both theoretically and numerically, and apply the approach to compare the mean and teleconnection pattern between two synthetic climate fields. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.