Weather forecasting is having an AI moment

Artificial intelligence used to influence weather conditions drastically with rain, floods, extreme heat, and double rainbows resulting. - STEPHANIE ARNETT/MITTR | ENVATO, WELLCOME COLLECTION

Weather forecasting is having an AI moment
MIT Technology Review, July 11, 2023
Artificial Intelligence
by Melissa Heikkilä

“As extreme weather conditions become more common, accurate forecasts become even more important. ”


Is it hot where you are? It sure is here in London. I’m writing this newsletter with a fan blasting at full power in my direction and still feel like my brain is melting. Last week was the hottest week on record. It’s yet another sign that climate change is “out of control,” the UN secretary general said.

Punishing heat waves and extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods are going to become more common as the climate crisis worsens, making it more important than ever before to produce accurate weather forecasts.


AI is proving increasingly helpful with that. In the past year, weather forecasting has been having an AI moment.


Three recent papers from Nvidia, Google DeepMind, and Huawei have introduced machine-learning methods that are able to predict weather at least as accurately as conventional methods, and much more quickly. Last week I wrote about Pangu-Weather, an AI model developed by Huawei. Pangu-Weather is able to forecast not only weather but also the path of tropical cyclones. Read more here.


Huawei’s Pangu-Weather, Nvidia’s FourcastNet, and Google DeepMind’s GraphCast, are making meteorologists “reconsider how we use machine learning and weather forecasts,” Peter Dueben, head of Earth system modeling at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), told me for the story.

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About the Author:

Melissa Heikkilä is a senior reporter at MIT Technology Review, where she covers artificial intelligence and how it is changing our society. Previously she wrote about AI policy and politics at POLITICO. She has also worked at The Economist and used to be a news anchor. Forbes named her as one of its 30 under 30 in European media in 2020.

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