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Google partners with NOAA on using AI, ML to improve extreme weather predictions

One area artificial intelligence can have a deep impact on is climate predictions. Google already has a number of weather efforts, and this month launched an AI partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) to enhance analysis of the US agency’s satellite and environmental data.

Together, NESDIS and Google will use AI and ML to amplify NOAA’s environmental monitoring, weather forecasting, and climate research using Google Cloud infrastructure.

Both organizations will initially research small-scale AI/ML systems, before “executing full-scale prototypes that NOAA could ultimately operationalize across its organization.”

NOAA says this has the “potential to be a significant leap” in its ability to analyze an “enormous volume and diversity of environmental data” to ultimately “enhance prediction for extreme weather events,” with hurricanes and tornadoes cited.

This agreement runs three years, with NOAA staff getting AI training, and also covers climate research and “technical innovation” projects.

‘Strengthening NOAA’s data processing through the use of big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced analytical approaches is critical for maintaining and enhancing the performance of our systems in support of public safety and the economy,’ said Neil Jacobs, PhD, acting NOAA administrator.

Meanwhile, Google is a founding member in the National Science Foundation’s “AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate, and Coastal Oceanography (AI2ES) led by Amy McGovern at the University of Oklahoma.” 

This Institute includes seven academic institutions, four private-sector partners, as well as US government and federally funded labs. AI2ES assembles researchers from the atmospheric and ocean sciences and risk communication to develop trustworthy AI technology to address concerns in weather, climate, and coastal hazards prediction. The team will create educational pathways to develop a more diverse AI and environmental science workforce.

Existing Google AI research in weather includes hyperlocal precipitation forecasting, especially in the short term, while Search in India and Bangladesh issues ML-backed flood alerts.

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