Two weeks ago, the world was shocked by the first installment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). The report shows the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change. How about AI?

"“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.” ." AR6 IPCC

The World Resources Institute gives an overview of the 5 Big Findings of the report. Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. Based on improved observational datasets to assess historical warming and better scientific understanding of the response of the climate to human activity, we can determine that human activity is already responsible for 1,1°C of warming since 1850-1900. The upcoming decades are not looking any cooler. Within 20 years global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1,5°C of warming, an increased frequency of concurrent heat waves & droughts on a global scale. Read the summary for policymakers here.

What is the role of AI to combat climate change? The AI ​​Gambit, a 55 page Oxford University article by Josh Cowls et al. The researchers identify two crucial opportunities that AI offers in this domain: it can help improve and expand current understanding of climate change, and it can contribute to combatting the climate crisis effectively. However, the development of AI also raises two sets of problems when considering climate change: the possible exacerbation of social and ethical challenges already associated with AI, and the contribution to climate change of the greenhouse gases emitted by training data and computation-intensive AI systems. They conclude by identifying the European Union as being especially well-placed to play a leading role in this policy response and provide 13 recommendations that are designed to identify and harness the opportunities of AI for combatting climate change, while reducing its impact on the environment.

AI techniques can be used to forecast global temperature changes, predict tropical storms & waves and get a better understanding of rainfall patterns. AI tools have the ability to anticipate extreme weather events coming from climate change, for example wildfires & rain damage (flooding). Due to climate change, the rate of wildfires has drastically increased in the last few years. Tracking & fighting them is more urgent than ever. Super-resolved images help in faster and better delineating edges of burning areas. Also enhance landmarks like dirt roads, fundamental details for a prompt risk assessment.

Super-resolved image wildfire California

To limit global warming, the world needs to achieve net zero CO2 emissions before 2050. This is a challenge assuming recent global emissions levels of 36,4GtCO2 per year. What do the physical changes (heat, cold, rain, drought, snow, wind, flooding) mean for society & ecosystems? In February 2022, the second part of AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability is scheduled...

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