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Scott Geraedts

Scott Geraedts

Scott joined the Climate & Energy research team in 2018. He's a generalist willing to learn about whatever it takes to help Climate & Energy projects succeed. His research on the team as focused on predicting where aircraft contrails will form, evaluating wildfire satellite detection designs, and building tools to analyse plasma experiments.
Authored Publications
Google Publications
Other Publications
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    A scalable system to measure contrail formation on a per-flight basis
    Marc Shapiro
    Erica Brand
    Sebastian Eastham
    Carl Elkin
    Thomas Dean
    Zebediah Engberg
    Ulrike Hager
    Joe Ng
    Dinesh Sanekommu
    Tharun Sankar
    Environmental Research Communications (2024)
    Preview abstract In this work we describe a scalable, automated system to determine from satellite data whether a given flight has made a persistent contrail. The system works by comparing flight segments to contrails detected by a computer vision algorithm running on images from the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager. We develop a `flight matching' algorithm and use it to label each flight segment as a `match' or `non-match'. We perform this analysis on 1.6 million flight segments and compare these labels to existing contrail prediction methods based on weather forecast data. The result is an analysis of which flights make persistent contrails several orders of magnitude larger than any previous work. We find that current contrail prediction models fail to correctly predict whether we will match a contrail in many cases. View details
    Estimates of broadband upwelling irradiance from GOES-16 ABI
    Sixing Chen
    Vincent Rudolf Meijer
    Joe Ng
    Geoff Davis
    Carl Elkin
    Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 285 (2023)
    Preview abstract Satellite-derived estimates of the Earth’s radiation budget are crucial for understanding and predicting the weather and climate. However, existing satellite products measuring broadband outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and reflected shortwave radiation (RSR) have spatio-temporal resolutions that are too coarse to evaluate important radiative forcers like aircraft condensation trails. We present a neural network which estimates OLR and RSR based on narrowband radiances, using collocated Cloud and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) and GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) data. The resulting estimates feature strong agreement with the CERES data products (R^2 = 0.977 for OLR and 0.974 for RSR on CERES Level 2 footprints), and we provide open access to the collocated satellite data and model outputs on all available GOES-16 ABI data for the 4 years from 2018–2021. View details
    Contrail Detection on GOES-16 ABI with the OpenContrails Dataset
    Joe Ng
    Jian Cui
    Vincent Rudolf Meijer
    Erica Brand
    IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (2023)
    Preview abstract Contrails (condensation trails) are line-shaped ice clouds caused by aircraft and are a substantial contributor to aviation-induced climate change. Contrail avoidance is potentially an inexpensive way to significantly reduce the climate impact of aviation. An automated contrail detection system is an essential tool to develop and evaluate contrail avoidance systems. In this article, we present a human-labeled dataset named OpenContrails to train and evaluate contrail detection models based on GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) data. We propose and evaluate a contrail detection model that incorporates temporal context for improved detection accuracy. The human labeled dataset and the contrail detection outputs are publicly available on Google Cloud Storage at gs://goes_contrails_dataset . View details
    Preview abstract Contrails (condensation trails) are the ice clouds that trail behind aircraft as they fly through cold and moist regions of the atmosphere. Avoiding these regions could potentially be an inexpensive way to reduce over half of aviation's impact on global warming. Development and evaluation of these avoidance strategies greatly benefits from the ability to detect contrails on satellite imagery. Since little to no public data is available to develop such contrail detectors, we construct and release a dataset of several thousand Landsat-8 scenes with pixel-level annotations of contrails. The dataset will continue to grow, but currently contains 3431 scenes (of which 47\% have at least one contrail) representing 800+ person-hours of labeling time. View details
    Preview abstract Hamiltonian Monte Carlo is discussed in the context of a fusion plasma reconstruction. Ill conditioned covariance and multi-modality are discussed in depth. View details
    Preview abstract We determined the time-dependent geometry including high-frequency oscillations of the plasma density in TAE’s C2W experiment. This was done as a joint Bayesian reconstruction from a 14-chord FIR interferometer in the midplane, 32 Mirnov probes at the periphery, and 8 shine-through detectors at the targets of the neutral beams. For each point in time we recovered, with credibility intervals: the radial density profile of the plasma; bulk plasma displacement; amplitudes, frequencies and phases of the azimuthal modes n=1 to n=4. Also reconstructed were the radial profiles of the deformations associated with each of the azimuthal modes. Bayesian posterior sampling was done via Hamiltonian Monte Carlo with custom preconditioning. This gave us a comprehensive uncertainty quantification of the reconstructed values, including correlations and some understanding of multimodal posteriors. This method was applied to thousands of experimental shots on C-2W, producing a rich data set for analysis of plasma performance. View details
    Preview abstract TAE Technologies, Inc. (TAE) is pursuing an alternative approach to magnetically confined fusion, which relies on field-reversed configuration (FRC) plasmas composed of mostly energetic and well-confined particles by means of a state-of-the-art tunable energy neutral-beam (NB) injector system. TAE’s current experimental device, C-2W (also called “Norman”), is the world’s largest compact-toroid device and has made significant progress in FRC performance, producing record breaking, high temperature (electron temperature, Te >500 eV; total electron and ion temperature, Ttot >3 keV) advanced beam-driven FRC plasmas, dominated by injected fast particles and sustained in steady-state for up to 30 ms, which is limited by NB pulse duration. C-2W produces significantly better FRC performance than the preceding C-2U experiment, in part due to Google’s machine-learning framework for experimental optimization, which has contributed to the discovery of a new operational regime where novel settings for the formation sections yield consistently reproducible, hot, and stable plasmas. Active plasma control system has been developed and utilized in C-2W to produce consistent FRC performance as well as for reliable machine operations using magnets, electrodes, gas injection, and tunable NBs. The active control system has demonstrated a stabilization of FRC axial instability. Overall FRC performance is well correlated with NBs and edge-biasing system, where higher total plasma energy is obtained with increasing both NB injection power and applied-voltage on biasing electrodes. C-2W divertors have demonstrated a good electron heat confinement on open-field-lines using strong magnetic mirror fields as well as expanding the magnetic field in the divertors (expansion ratio >30); the electron energy lost per ion, ~6–8, is achieved, which is close to the ideal theoretical minimum. View details
    Preview abstract The Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) method allows sampling from continuous densities. Favorable scaling with dimension has led to wide adoption of HMC by the statistics community. Modern auto-differentiating software should allow more widespread usage in Bayesian inverse problems. This paper analyzes the two major difficulties encountered using HMC for inverse problems: poor conditioning and multi-modality. Novel results on preconditioning and replica exchange Monte Carlo parameter selection are presented in the context of spectroscopy. Recommendations are analyzed rigorously in the Gaussian case, and shown to generalize in a fusion plasma reconstruction. View details
    Preview abstract Fusion Plasma Reconstruction work done at Google in partnership with TAE is presented. View details
    Preview abstract Hamiltonian Monte Carlo is a popular sampling technique for smooth target densities. The scale lengths of the target have long been known to influence integration error and sampling efficiency. However, quantitative measures intrinsic to the target have been lacking. In this paper, we restrict attention to the multivariate Gaussian and the leapfrog integrator, and obtain a condition number corresponding to sampling efficiency. This number, based on the spectral and Schatten norms, quantifies the number of leapfrog steps needed to efficiently sample. We demonstrate its utility by using this condition number to analyze HMC preconditioning techniques. We also find the condition number of large inverse Wishart matrices, from which we derive burn-in heuristics. View details
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