Adversarial Super-Resolution of Climatological Wind and Solar Data

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98 Scopus Citations


Accurate and high-resolution data reflecting different climate scenarios are vital for policy makers when deciding on the development of future energy resources, electrical infrastructure, transportation networks, agriculture, and many other societally important systems. However, state-of-the-art long-term global climate simulations are unable to resolve the spatiotemporal characteristics necessary for resource assessment or operational planning. We introduce an adversarial deep learning approach to super resolve wind velocity and solar irradiance outputs from global climate models to scales sufficient for renewable energy resource assessment. Using adversarial training to improve the physical and perceptual performance of our networks, we demonstrate up to a 50× resolution enhancement of wind and solar data. In validation studies, the inferred fields are robust to input noise, possess the correct small-scale properties of atmospheric turbulent flow and solar irradiance, and retain consistency at large scales with coarse data. An additional advantage of our fully convolutional architecture is that it allows for training on small domains and evaluation on arbitrarily-sized inputs, including global scale. We conclude with a super-resolution study of renewable energy resources based on climate scenario data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)16805-16815
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2C00-75625


  • Adversarial training
  • Climate downscaling
  • Deep learning


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