April 25, 2024

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Weather News & Forecast

9:30 AM | *Artificial intelligence and weather forecasting…a quiet revolution is taking place in numerical weather prediction* — Arcfield Weather

2 min read

Traditional weather models start off by feeding a snapshot of current conditions, based on observations from satellites, weather stations and buoys, into a grid-like computer model that divides the atmosphere into millions of boxes. This snapshot is then run forward in time for each box by applying equations that are based on the physical laws of fluid dynamics and this requires great computational power. Indeed, this kind of data crunching requires supercomputers with 1 million processors and can take several hours to run…usually four times a day.

The new AI models play a role in weather prediction by simulating and analyzing past weather events, learning from historical data, and recognizing recurring weather patterns which enhances AI’s ability to predict future weather conditions. In other words, AI skips the expense of solving the equations in favor of “deep learning” after training on 40 years of ECMWF “reanalysis” data (a combination of observations and short-term model forecasts that best represents past weather) (source).

The European Agency is not alone in producing AI forecast models as numerous tech giants are getting involved. In a paper published recently in Science, Google introduced GraphCast and claims it can make weather predictions more accurately (and faster) than the ECMWF High-Resolution Forecast (HRES) on 90% of its verification targets up to 10 days in advance.

The advance in AI forecasting has been rapid during the past few years and one of the important next steps will be to produce ensemble results, which helps to capture uncertainty by running a model multiple times with slightly differing input parameters to create a range of outcomes. While few expect traditional model forecasts to disappear anytime soon, AI will likely approach the point in the near-term where it can be a very useful complement. And when it comes to artificial intelligence, the bottom line is that there is really no telling where this will lead us over the next five or ten years; therefore, as is usually the case when it comes to weather forecasting, stay tuned. 

Meteorologist Paul Dorian

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Paul Dorian

2024-03-25 13:19:03

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