In response to the surge in global extreme weather events in 2023, NASA and IBM have introduced an advanced tool that could be instrumental in navigating the complexities of climate change. Unveiled at COP28, this artificial intelligence (AI) tool is poised to predict the potential impact of climate change on residential areas, offering a proactive solution for individuals facing eco-anxiety.
Set to be available in 2024, this groundbreaking AI tool empowers users to monitor Earth from space, leveraging comprehensive data to measure environmental changes that have occurred and make precise predictions for the future. While its primary purpose is not to instill fear, the system is designed to assist users in navigating and preparing for severe weather events.
This tool, akin to Google Earth, allows users to toggle different algorithms, revealing overlays such as tree cover, carbon emissions, and risks related to flooding and wildfires. Scheduled for public release in 2024, its accessibility extends to nations, corporations, charities, and individuals. Dr. Juan Bernabe-Moreno, director of IBM Research Europe for Ireland and the UK, envisions users utilizing the tool for informed decision-making, ranging from travel planning to real estate choices.
Operating as an AI-powered foundational model, the tool maps complex systems using raw data. Developed by IBM in collaboration with NASA, it harnesses extensive datasets, including satellite information, to provide users with valuable insights into environmental dynamics. While not requiring advanced technology like a personal data center, it may need a few GPUs (graphics processing units), enhancing accessibility for a broader user base.
Looking forward, the application of generative AI to weather patterns could enhance forecast accuracy and predictions for extreme events like hurricanes and droughts. By understanding the direct impact of climate changes on daily life, authorities can develop more effective emergency plans.
Crucially, being open-source, the tool fosters accountability, allowing communities to hold governments responsible for commitments made at events like COP28. Notably, the Government of Kenya has already utilized a previous version of the model to monitor progress in its reforestation program. This aligns with Juan Bernabe-Moreno’s vision of the “democratization of weather and climate,” placing the ability to model climate and weather in the hands of the community.