Melting ice caps are a staple example of climate change. As they dissipate, sea levels rise, beaches submerge, habitats degrade and species migrate to incompatible regions, increasing their risk of extinction. Environmental engineers and scientists produced a system helping researchers track sea ice loss using artificial intelligence (AI).
The technology evaluates current cap sizes and predicts future changes based on human intervention and Earth’s responsive processes. Professionals can use these forecasts to prevent adverse impacts on wildlife and indigenous communities. The system’s efficiency and success inspires other ecological scientists to use AI for conservation and climate change prevention efforts.
AI’s Role in Predicting Ice Loss
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) developed the IceNET AI to track and predict ice cap dissipation and ice loss. Currently, ice sheets are shrinking by nearly 151 billion metric tons annually. Previous technology was less accurate and took hours longer to produce data compared to IceNET.
Tom Andersson, a data scientist at BAS, used deep learning to develop advanced technology. He and his team uploaded ice cap data into the system ranging between 1979 and 2011. They also created a simulation projecting sea ice changes from 1850 to 2100, training IceNET to conduct long-term predictions.
The BAS team tested the technology, having it predict ice cap changes between 2012 and 2020. IceNET was 2.9% more accurate than the previous system, showing promising potential for its use in the field. The technology is also 95% accurate at conduction predictions two months out.
Environmental scientists plan on utilizing the AI system to anticipate humanity’s effects on Earth’s composition.
Additionally, they will use it to save arctic species from endangerment by preventing ice loss. Harp seals are experiencing life-threatening impacts associated with ice melting. After the seals give birth, they rely on the ice to protect their pups. They nurse, rest and grow on ice caps for nearly six weeks. Melting ice caps force pups into the water before they are physically ready, causing starvation, hypothermia and death. Scientists can use IceNET to predict low-ice-density times and intervene to protect harp seal pups.
They may additionally utilize AI to improve indigenous communities’ safety and economic stability. Inuit communities rely on dense ice caps for dwelling, and melting ice degrades the integrity of indigenous individuals’ homes. It also reduces the quantity of wildlife near their communities, enhancing food scarcity. AI can predict food and habitat challenges, sending relief resources during warmer seasons. IceNET’s data prediction features can significantly improve arctic communities and species protection.
The system itself also boosts environmental conditions by using the cloud to distribute information. Cloud data centers use substantially less energy than an individual server. Shared servers save electricity by limiting the temperature control necessary for information protection. Placing multiple systems under one roof, using the cloud, can shrink tech companies’ carbon footprints. One business can eliminate 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning their computing to the cloud.
Various AI systems benefit ecological conservation, reducing atmospheric and surface-level pollution. Environmental scientists are using and developing technology to save the planet. Renewable energy storage systems and plant-based meat are a couple of new technologies advancing resource and global ecosystem preservation.
Technology Continuing to Save the Planet
Last year, the solar industry reached its highest sale and production rates. The technology effectively produces electricity without greenhouse gas emissions, reducing atmospheric degradation. As society transitions its energy reliance away from fossil fuels, engineers searched for an efficient storage system.
Solar panels produce electricity in real-time. Conventional photovoltaic panels can’t store excess energy, limiting their power distribution around the clock. Engineers developed a storage system using hydrogen to expand solar power’s accessibility. They place batteries in shipping containers connected to solar panels. The panels charge the batteries, creating electricity that runs through an electrolyzer. This divides the energy into hydrogen and oxygen, storing the excess hydrogen as a fuel cell.
Hydrogen storage technology can support a clean electric grid. Eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels may significantly decrease the enhanced greenhouse effect and related ecological harm.
Plant-based meat also conserves the atmosphere’s natural composition, preventing climate change. The agricultural industry is a significant emission producer. One cow releases 220 pounds of methane into the atmosphere annually. Scientists discovered a way to reduce livestock emissions using fake meat technology.
When environmental engineers and scientists work together to develop sustainable technology, they can maintain modern lifestyles while reducing ecological degradation. Conserving natural resources today and for future generations is crucial for humanity’s longevity. Over time, advancements will mitigate adverse climate change effects.
Data Collection for Ecological Protection
When individuals visualize an environmental scientist, they see a researcher in the field taking ice measurements. Climate change prevention is more complex than sampling. Data collection is a significant part of ecological conservation, helping professionals evaluate and develop sustainable solutions.
Using AI for data collection improves accuracy, safety and eco-consciousness. When individuals utilize computer systems for climate change prediction, they decrease the transportation emissions related to site visits. They also reduce the range of error during human-powered predictions, improving the efficiency of conservation efforts.
How to Learn More about Ethical AI and AI for Environmental Issues
At our upcoming event this November 16th-18th in San Francisco, ODSC West 2021 will feature a plethora of talks, workshops, and training sessions on ethical AI and ethical AI research. You can register now for 30% off all ticket types before the discount drops to 20% next week. Some highlighted sessions on responsible and ethical AI include:
- Artificial Intelligence for Conservation and Sustainability: From the Local to the Global: Dave Thau, PhD | Data and Technology Global Lead Scientist | WWF
- Responsible AI; From Principles to Practice: Tempest Van Schaik, PhD | Senior Machine Learning Biomedical Engineer | Microsoft CSE
- Using AI to Overcome Bias & Make Hiring More Equitable: Ashutosh Garg, PhD | CEO and Founder | Eightfold.ai