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NASA & IBM are Building Weather AI for Climate Boost

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NASA and IBM are joining forces to revolutionize weather and climate forecasting through the development of a cutting-edge AI foundation model.


Unlike current AI emulators, this foundational model is set to offer “significant advantages over existing technology,” becoming the cornerstone for generative AI applications in the realm of Earth science.

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Alessandro Curioni, IBM Fellow and Vice President of Accelerated Discovery, said, “Climate change is a real and pressing issue that we must find new ways to address as quickly and efficiently as possible, including through today’s most advanced AI technologies.”

The goals set for this pioneering model are ambitious. NASA and IBM aspire to enhance accessibility, hasten inference times, and diversify the data spectrum. The focus extends beyond weather forecasting to improve accuracy in various climate applications, from predicting meteorological phenomena to identifying conditions conducive to events like airplane turbulence and wildfires.

Leaders discussing Africa’s place in the Climate Change, during Roadmap to COP27 Climate Summit.

IBM and NASA recently deployed a foundational model harnessing satellite data for geospatial intelligence, marking the largest geospatial model on the open-source AI platform, Hugging Face. This model has already proven its versatility by tracking tree planting activities in Kenya’s water tower areas and analyzing urban heat islands in the United Arab Emirates.

In the UAE, IBM collaborated with the Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) to combat urban heat islands. Professor Tim Baldwin, MBZUAI Acting Provost, applauds the effort, saying, “This research underscores the vital role of AI in tackling global issues, emphasizing the urgency of continued exploration and innovation.”

In Kenya, where deforestation threatens water scarcity, IBM and the Kenyan government’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Ali Mohamed, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

This collaboration aims to support the National Tree Growing and Restoration Campaign by leveraging IBM’s geospatial foundation model to track and visualize tree planting activities in critical water tower areas.

President’s Spokesperson, Mr. Hussein Mohamed, emphasized that, “Through our partnership with IBM, we have the capability of harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and geospatial data to advance our climate ambitions.”

Dr. Ellen Stofan, NASA Administrator, expresses enthusiasm, saying, “This partnership with IBM is a significant step forward in advancing our capabilities in weather forecasting and climate research.”

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IBM’s commitment to climate action doesn’t stop there. The company is actively participating in COP28, building upon its longstanding history of environmental advocacy and initiatives. As they work towards a sustainable future, the collaboration between NASA and IBM is poised to reshape the landscape of weather and climate applications, paving the way for a safer and healthier planet.

Dr. Stofan encapsulated the sentiment of this groundbreaking collaboration, saying, “We are at the forefront of using advanced AI technologies to address climate challenges, and we are hopeful that these efforts will contribute significantly to our understanding and mitigation of climate change effects.”


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