The Inertia for Good Editor
Ever Heard Anyone Measure a Wave at 7 Feet? A Look at the Mysterious World of Surf Height

Photo: Matt Paul//Unsplash

The Inertia

If there’s something humans currently do, anything at all it seems, odds are there are designs for an artificial intelligence application to do that very same thing. In the world of weather events, nothing is stealing the spotlight quite like El Niño right now, so it makes sense this would be a good place for AI engineers to test out its modern day relevance. And according to a new study published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, the technology already has the ability to forecast El Niño events and conditions over the Central Pacific better than traditional forecasting methods.

Predictions in recent months have come at us with varying results. From El Niño’s early arrival to waiting to see just how intense this year’s El Niño will turn out to be, organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have had to watch data and weather developments like a hawk most of this year and they’re still limited in what they can confidently predict. It’s fair to assume the same scientists tasked with monitoring all of this might welcome any tool that provides them more accuracy.

In the case of a new AI model, convolutional neural network technology was used to train the technology in detecting sea surface temperature anomalies (SST). It predicts the specific shape, location, and timing of SST anomalies associated with central Pacific El Niño events better than the current methods experts use now, and when the researchers paired the AI results with the results of traditional SST researching methods, they found that the AI’s predictions outperformed traditional methods at an even greater scale.

“This study demonstrates the potential of artificial intelligence to improve predictions of significant climate events such as El Niño that can have devastating effects around the globe,” says corresponding author of the study, Huang Ping. The belief is that this technology could impact disaster risk reduction around the world, with AI predictions improving our abilities to prepare for adverse events and disasters around the world.


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.