AI Weather Prediction: How Does it Work? AI Weather Prediction: How Does it Work?
Artificial intelligence is making its way into every aspect of the 21st century, and one field AI is making significant waves... AI Weather Prediction: How Does it Work?

Artificial intelligence is making its way into every aspect of the 21st century, and one field AI is making significant waves in is weather prediction.

Weather forecasting is very reliant on computer technology to perform accurately. Artificial intelligence technology and machine learning innovations can make weather prediction even more precise.

What Does it Take to Predict the Weather?

There are two types of weather predictions — short-range and long-range forecasts. Short-range forecasts range from one to 14 days, whereas long-range forecasts are predictions over 14 days. As predictive models attempt to forecast farther into the future, the predictions become less accurate.

Once restricted only to base human observations of the sky and weather formations, meteorology has dramatically evolved thanks to computer technology. These computer programs observe weather patterns and use that data to predict the most likely weather events.

The systems used to make weather predictions are highly complex, utilizing various forms of radar and satellite imaging to gather information on weather patterns. This information is then stored in supercomputers, where it is used to create forecast maps and make accurate predictions on possible weather events.

While current weather forecasting systems are quite advanced, one of their weaknesses is they are not good at adapting to sudden changes. This is because it takes time to detect sudden changes in weather patterns and factor them into the system’s current calculations.

What Is AI’s Role in Weather Prediction?

Artificial intelligence software can make the process of weather prediction more effective. One of the key strengths of AI is its ability to work with large sets of data. AI can be programmed to analyze multiple data sets of weather information to provide more accurate forecast maps.

This can be attributed to artificial intelligence’s unique machine learning capabilities, which differ from a standard computer’s. While computers can make calculations based on data, they cannot adapt or make inferences based on that data by themselves. Machine learning allows AI to interact with data directly and come to its own conclusions.

In the case of weather prediction, this means AI programs could make more accurate forecasts that are further into the future. Because they don’t need additional input from human operators to make predictions, they can continuously observe data without rest. This infinite data analysis allows the models to learn more about patterns and how to predict them more precisely than a human could.

In addition, if radar or satellite observes sudden changes in weather patterns, AI programs can adapt more quickly to the new data than traditional computer systems. This makes it possible to accurately predict weather events that could pose a critical threat to the lives of multiple people.

Because artificial intelligence programs can enhance the accuracy of predictions, they can also make forecasts further into the future more reliable. This can make it an invaluable tool for predicting when and where a natural disaster might occur. Such predictions would give populated areas in the path of a disaster enough time to take precautions, saving countless lives.

DeepMind’s AI Predicts Rainfall

Scientists demonstrated the accuracy of weather forecasts predicted by artificial intelligence in 2021. DeepMind — a London-based AI developer — used their DGMR machine deep learning tool to predict rainfall at the United Kingdom’s national weather service.

Compared to existing weather prediction systems, DGMR was more accurate and precise in its predictions. DGMR was able to predict the location of the rain, the amount of rainfall, and the movement of the rain clouds with pinpoint accuracy 89% of the time.

Such a level of accuracy is only possible with machine learning AI. While normal computer systems need additional input from a human operator, AI can interpret the data independently and make predictions with fewer errors.

AI Is the Future of Weather Prediction

As machine learning technology improves, more applications will be found for artificial intelligence — especially in the field of weather prediction. AI tools can make forecasts more accurate by interacting directly with data sets without a human operator’s input. This can also make the accuracy of predictions more reliable and can help forecast the appearance of potentially destructive natural disasters.

Zac Amos

Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers data science, cybersecurity, and machine learning. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn for more of his work.