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Artificial Intelligence Enhances Weather Predictions Amid Rising Floods and Droughts in India

India is exploring the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into climate models to advance weather predictions, responding to a surge in extreme weather events such as heavy rains, floods, and droughts. A senior official from India’s meteorological department announced the initiative, emphasizing its crucial role in mitigating the devastating impacts of severe weather conditions, which have resulted in an estimated 3,000 casualties in the current year, according to the Centre for Science and Environment.

The increasing global temperatures have heightened the intensity of weather phenomena across India, leading weather agencies worldwide to turn to AI technology for its potential cost savings and faster forecasting capabilities. The UK’s Met Office has praised AI as a potential game-changer in weather forecasting, citing a Google-funded model that surpassed traditional methodologies.

Given India’s vast population of 1.4 billion and its position as the world’s second-largest producer of staple crops, including rice, wheat, and sugar, precise weather forecasting is of paramount importance. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) traditionally relies on mathematical models processed by supercomputers for weather predictions. However, the integration of AI into an expanded network of observation stations is expected to produce higher-quality forecast data at a reduced cost.




IMD Tests Use of AI in Weather Forecasts Amid Rise in Floods, Droughts | Technology News
IMD Tests Use of AI in Weather Forecasts Amid Rise in Floods, Droughts

KS Hosalikar, head of climate research and services at IMD, highlighted the potential of AI-based climate models and advisories in refining forecasts. The IMD has already implemented AI for public alerts regarding heatwaves and diseases like malaria. Plans are underway to enhance weather observatories, facilitating data collection at the village level, which could provide finer-resolution data crucial for more accurate forecasts, according to Hosalikar.

The Indian government has announced its intentions to introduce AI into traditional weather models, establishing a dedicated center to explore this innovation through workshops and conferences.

Saurabh Rathore, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, emphasized the cost-effectiveness of AI models compared to supercomputers, highlighting their potential to operate on standard desktop systems. However, experts caution that high-resolution data remains a crucial requirement for optimizing AI’s capabilities in weather forecasting. “An AI model doesn’t require the high cost involved in running a supercomputer – you can even run it out of a good quality desktop,” Rathore told Reuters.

“Without having high-resolution data in space and time, no AI model for location-specific magnification of existing model forecasts is feasible,” cautioned Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

The adoption of AI in weather forecasting aligns with global efforts to leverage technological advancements in addressing climate-related challenges. AI’s ability to process vast datasets and identify complex patterns provides a promising avenue for improving the accuracy and efficiency of weather predictions.

As India moves forward with integrating AI into its weather forecasting infrastructure, ongoing efforts to enhance data collection, model refinement, and collaboration with experts will be crucial. The successful implementation of AI models holds the potential to significantly benefit the country’s agriculture, disaster preparedness, and public safety, ultimately contributing to the broader global discourse on climate resilience and innovation.

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