Google's AI "precipitation nowcasting" can forecast extreme weather in near-realtime
As the Australian bush fires have shown, climate change means that the world is set to experience more-and more unpredictable-weather events in the years to come. Being able to forecast the weather could save valuable infrastructure and lives.
Google recently shared that it's working on AI models that enable weather forecasting on a "nearly instantaneous" basis. Google's new weather model is in early stages. As yet, it has not been integrated into any of the company's commercial solutions. However, we wouldn't be surprised to see it appear in, for instance, Google Maps, in the near future.
How accurate and fast are the predictions? The researchers claim that their "precipitation nowcasting" generated rainfall forecasts at a 1km resolution, 6 hours ahead of time. Remarkably, the "nowcasts" took just 5-10 minutes to calculate.
The study indicates that this technology has the potential to enhance standard weather forecasting models. According to the post, cloud cover, a major factor in existing weather models, does not perfectly correlate with rain. This means that the new model could potentially predict weather events in situations where earlier models would be unable to do so.
According to the researchers, this could help augment crisis management and reduce "losses to life and property."