Artificial intelligence as a catalyst for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Life on earth is in the midst of facing the most deleterious challenge to its survival — climate change. From rising sea levels and frequently occurring natural disasters to the destruction of complete ecosystems; climate change has deeply impacted every living organism on the planet. While some do not appreciate the gravity of the situation,  others are exploring innovative ways to combat climate change. So, how is AI helping the world adapt to climate change?

Today, scientists are frantically looking for practical approaches to fight against the disastrous effects of climate change by tapping the vast potential of artificial intelligence, notably machine learning. Data-driven event prediction systems and software are built, powered by AI algorithms. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving power generation and consumption efficiency, sustainable transportation, and green agriculture are a few ways AI can help mitigate and reduce climate change effects. Let’s take a look at some of them in detail.

Climate Change and AI
  1. Insightful data-driven predictive systems 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can build large data-driven predictive systems that can simulate and predict weather patterns and their socioeconomic impacts. AI models can also help estimate the energy requirements accurately and help plan the inclusion of renewable energy sources into the electric grid. An ML machine can help build simulation models for climate researchers and innovators to test their theories and solutions on reducing pollution and evaluating their climate-friendly innovations. One example is Green Horizon, an IBM project that analyzes environmental data and predicts pollution levels, and considers the efficacy of proposed pollution-reducing strategies through “what-if” analyses. Climate informatics is an emerging field that looks at the application of data analytics and AI to the climate science domain. 

Climate change mitigation requires accurate forecasting of the potential impacts of climate change in a localized area like extreme weather events. AI-powered models can help predict localized long-term trends with reasonable precision through systematic analyses of large amounts of historical data. For example, one can predict long-term rainfall patterns in a region, estimate probabilities of drought, and thereby forecast its potential impact on agriculture, water supplies, and human health. Such early predictive systems can help formulate an effective mitigation plan. 

  1.  Green initiatives

Environmental emissions play a crucial role in shaping the climate. In line with the global agenda, AI can facilitate a greener planet by:

1) Enabling measurement and analyses of emission levels,

2) Reduction of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions

3) Improving the energy efficiency of devices

4) Removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

AI-powered models can help in both macro and micro-level measurement of emission levels and analysis of remote-sensing data from satellites. Producers can use emission level measures of their product to better understand their carbon footprint and device methods to reduce it, while consumers can use this information to make informed purchases.

AI can help reduce GHG emissions by enabling the inclusion of renewable energy sources like solar energy into the energy grid. For example, accurate forecasting of the supply of solar energy can help identify areas with a higher potential for using solar energy, thereby reducing GHG emissions. AI can also optimize supply chain and logistics through better demand prediction and efficient transportation of raw materials and goods. This can help avoid over-production, reduce delivery times, and result in a reduced carbon footprint. 

AI can also help design smart, energy-efficient devices and invent sustainable materials and processes that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

 Thus, artificial intelligence and machine learning innovations can make it easier to protect our planet.

  1. Early warning systems 

Early warning alerts of a catastrophic weather event can reduce damage to human life and property. Tropical cyclones and atmospheric rivers have been identified using machine-learning algorithms trained on historical data from past extreme-weather events. Governments and citizens can better respond and protect themselves if they receive timely alerts and warnings of severe weather events like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.

  1.   Disaster management

By analyzing simulations and real-time data (including social media data), artificial intelligence can help identify vulnerabilities, assess the impact of the disaster, support informed decision-making, and enable the effective rollout of disaster management plans.  For example, AI tools coupled with social media can be used to understand the spread and impact of wildfires, identify the population at risk and match people with resources effectively. AI systems can help in the real-time monitoring of disaster-struck regions and associated relief efforts. 

AI as a catalyst for climate change adaptation and mitigation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a disruptive paradigm well suited for assessing, predicting, and mitigating the effects of climate change by leveraging data, learning algorithms, and sensors. Calculations are performed, predictions are made, and decisions are taken to mitigate the effects of climate change. AI helps us better understand climate change across different geographical locations by developing weather forecasting and environmental monitoring models. Technically, AI offers better climatic predictions, shows the impacts of extreme weather, finds the actual sources of carbon emissions, and makes numerous useful contributions. This way, policymakers are aware of rising sea levels, earth hazards, hurricanes, climate change, habitat disruption, and species extinction. 

Artificial Intelligence is a game-changing critical enabler having the potential to speed up humanity’s race against climate change and adaptability resilience. Climate change and environmental challenges can be mitigated with AI. Currently, the need is to not only innovate but invest and support companies that use AI technology to reduce or negate the climate change effects. 

Edited By — Naga Vydyanathan