India to build AI climate models for severe weather forecasting


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The Indian government is testing artificial intelligence (AI) in creating climate models to forecast severe weather conditions, according to a top local weather official. 

In a report from Reuters, K.S. Hosalikar, the head of climate research and services at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said he expects AI-based climate models and advisories to help improve forecasting, particularly for severe weather conditions like floods and droughts.

Currently, the IMD uses forecasting methods from mathematical models and supercomputers. It said an AI incorporation could potentially generate higher-quality and less expensive weather data.

Hosalikar said AI is already in place to help create public alerts for extreme weather like heatwaves and disease outbreaks like malaria. He also said the IMD plans to increase the number of weather observatories down to a village level with the goal of higher-resolution forecasting data.

The government has already set up a center to test the idea of incorporating AI into traditional weather forecasting and plans for workshops and conferences.

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Accurate weather forecasting in a country with diverse weather patterns like India is particularly critical, as its 1.4 billion inhabitants will be increasingly affected by worsening droughts, heatwaves and intense flooding. 

India also plays a major role in the world’s agricultural production, as the second-largest producer of rice, wheat and sugar.

At the latest Wired Impact Conference in London, Google’s DeepMind climate action lead Sims Witherspoon suggested a new strategy which she called the “Understand, Optimize, Accelerate” framework, that outlines steps to use AI to tackle climate change.

Already, the weather forecasting scene has been utilizing emerging technologies like blockchain and crypto to optimize weather data collection. The startup WeatherXM has already deployed hundreds of decentralized weather stations around the world to harvest local data and, in turn, provides station owners with utility tokens.

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