AI Accurately Predicts Floods, New Technology Conquering Weather?

By April Ryder | Published

AI weather prediction just took a step forward, according to Google’s latest announcement. The tech giant has developed an AI-assisted tool that can predict river flooding up to a week in advance in some places, granting good news for future meteorologists and forecasters. 

Warning Systems For Flooding?

Until now, the world has never had a reliable warning system in place for flooding. Of course, meteorologists have weather predicting tools at their disposal to know when flooding is possible due to heavy rains, but the current warning for floods is 0 days. 

Flooding is a notoriously difficult thing to predict, especially in areas where the rivers have no streamflow gauges. Google and its AI weather program found a way around the issue of gauges by providing a range of other relevant data to train machine learning models. 

Google Running Flooding Simulations

Historical events, river level readings, elevation and terrain readings, and other pivotal data were fed into the AI machine in hopes of creating more accurate weather outlooks.

Google then used its vast mapping abilities to run “hundreds of thousands” of simulations in various locations around the world. 

Utilizing this complex conglomeration of information and the power of AI, Google’s weather project created several “highly accurate models for very particular locations.” 

Taking To A Global Scale

AI weather

Google plans to continue its work and expand its AI weather and river flood warning capabilities globally in the future.

Overall, Google was able to use its AI weather tool to provide accurate flood forecasting for 80 different countries and more than 400 million people. You can find the forecasts using Google Search and Google Maps, and Android users in the chosen areas can receive text notifications on their phones.

There is also a Flood Hub app provided by Google that grants access to the information.

More Lives Could Be Saved

AI weather

Now that Google’s people (and AI) have done the work to craft the first draft of this new flood prediction system, they’ve teamed up with some more than capable academic researchers to fine-tune their new AI weather tool.

The end goal for Google and its new approach is a  “global end-to-end flood forecasting platform.” 

If more people, especially those who live in developing countries, had more warnings before a flood affected their homes, lives could be saved. Last year, just one flood in Libya killed more than 4,300 people and displaced more than 40,000. 

Monsoons A Problem

AI weather

Monsoon rains in August 2023 displaced 60,000 people from their homes in Myanmar and stranded 700,000 individuals in Bangladesh whether by floods or landslides, and weather events are only getting larger and more intense as global warming continues to shift global climates. 

AI A Lifesaver?

Despite the recent pushback against the rise of AI in today’s world, AI has proven to be a lifesaver in terms of the advancement of weather prediction. The argument against AI technology is clear in some realms and not so clear in others, creating a perfect storm around the progression of a tech tool whose power has not yet been fully realized. 

Source: Nature

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