IBM and NASA partner on AI model to track climate change

  • NASA and IBM have teamed up to create an AI foundation model for Earth observations.
  • The model is designed to aid climate scientists and researchers to effectively work through the masses of data that NASA’s satellites generate while orbiting and capturing images of the planet.
  • It may also help scientists show the impact of climate change with more tangible evidence.

This week IBM, NASA, and HuggingFace have announced a collaborative effort to assist climate scientists and researchers better track the impact of climate change and other phenomena via a newly created AI foundation model.

The geospatial foundation model as it is called, will leverage, “large-scale satellite and remote sensing data, including the Harmonized Landsat and Sentinel-2 (HLS) data,” the scientists and researchers working on the project explained.

“By embracing the principles of open AI and open science, both organizations are actively contributing to the global mission of promoting knowledge sharing and accelerating innovations in addressing critical environmental challenges,” added HuggingFace, which is hosted the open-source AI model on its platform.

One of the big challenges that climate scientists face these days is the sheer volume of data that they need to work with, coupled with the fact that it is changing on a day-to-day basis. In fact, NASA estimates that in 2024 scientists will need to wade through 250 000 terabytes of data from new missions.

To tackle this challenge, AI powered by IBM’s Watson can help analyse and dissect all the data that NASA has and will continue to generate. This should then help scientists by freeing up more of their time to look at the impact of climate change and its potential impact on cities, agriculture, and other areas moving forward.

“By combining IBM’s foundation model efforts aimed at creating flexible, reusable AI systems with NASA’s repository of Earth-satellite data, and making it available on the leading open-source AI platform, Hugging Face, we can leverage the power of collaboration to implement faster and more impactful solutions that will improve our planet,” highlighted Sriram Raghavan, VP of IBM Research AI.

“We believe that foundation models have the potential to change the way observational data is analyzed and help us to better understand our planet. And by open sourcing such models and making them available to the world, we hope to multiply their impact,” added Kevin Murphy, chief science data officer at NASA.

You can see the geospatial foundation model at work in the short video below. Perhaps this collaboration will also assist scientists when it comes to climate change deniers too, many of which hold positions of power in government.

For now though, it is interesting to see how AI is being applied in fields outside of generative AI, which seems to be the one area most technology companies are concerned with these days.


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