Google has decided to get involved in the notoriously difficult task of weather forecasting. The work is in the early stages but Google’s researchers described how they were able to generate accurate rainfall predictions up to six hours ahead of time from just minutes of calculation. Speedy predictions will be an essential tool needed for effective adaptation to climate change. In a world that is dominated by unpredictable weather patterns, short-term forecasts will be crucial in times of crisis.

Older current models could take up to 6 hours to compute a forecast which only allows for 3-4 runs per day resulting in 6 hour old data. Google’s methods produce in minutes because they don’t try to model complex weather systems but instead make predictions about simple radar data as a proxy for rainfall. IBM and Monsanto are also investing time in the use of AI on weather forecasting.

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