Title: Nonstationary spatial modeling of massive global satellite data
Authors: Dorit Hammerling - Colorado School of Mines (United States) [presenting]
Huang Huang - NCAR (United States)
Lewis Blake - Norwegian Meteorological Institute (Norway)
Matthias Katzfuss - Texas AM (United States)
Abstract: Earth-observing satellite instruments obtain a massive number of observations every day. For example, tens of millions of sea surface temperature (SST) observations on a global scale are collected daily by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument. Despite their size, such datasets are incomplete and noisy, necessitating spatial statistical inference to obtain complete, high-resolution fields with quantified uncertainties. Such inference is challenging due to the high computational cost, the nonstationary behavior of environmental processes on a global scale, and land barriers affecting the dependence of SST. We present a multi-resolution approximation (M-RA) of a Gaussian process (GP) whose nonstationary, global covariance function is obtained using local fits. The M-RA requires domain partitioning, which can be set up application-specifically. In the SST case, we partition the domain purposefully to account for and weaken dependence across land barriers. Our M-RA implementation is tailored to distributed-memory computation in high-performance-computing environments. We analyze a MODIS SST dataset consisting of more than 43 million observations, to our knowledge the largest dataset ever analyzed using a probabilistic GP model. We show that our nonstationary model based on local fits provides substantially improved predictive performance relative to a stationary approach.