Spatio-Temporal Gaussianization Flows for Extreme Event Detection


Automatic anticipation and detection of extreme events constitute a major challenge in the current context of climate change. Machine learning approaches have excelled in detection of extremes and anomalies in Earth data cubes recently, but are typically both computationally costly and supervised, which hamper their wide adoption. We alternatively present here an unsupervised, efficient, generative approach for extreme event detection, whose performance is illustrated for drought detection in Europe during the severe Russian heat wave in 2010. The core architecture of the model is generic and could naturally be extended to the detection of other kinds of anomalies. First, it computes hierarchical appearance (spatial) and motion (temporal) representations of several informative Essential Climate Variables (ECVs), including soil moisture, land surface temperature, as well as features describing vegetation health. Then, these representations are combined using Gaussianization Flows that yield a spatio-temporal anomaly score. This allows the proposed model not only to detect droughts areas, but also to explain why they were produced, monitoring the individual contributions of each of the ECVs to the indicator at its output.

How to cite: Fernández-Torres, M.-Á., Johnson, J. E., Piles, M., and Camps-Valls, G.: Spatio-Temporal Gaussianization Flows for Extreme Event Detection, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15729,, 2021.