IMD Plans To Use Artificial Intelligence In Weather Forecasting
Children play on a flooded street during monsoon in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg News)

IMD Plans To Use Artificial Intelligence In Weather Forecasting

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The India Meteorological Department is planning to use artificial intelligence in weather forecasting, especially for issuing nowcasts, which can help improve 3-6 hours prediction of extreme weather events, its Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said on Sunday.

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, he said, is not as prevalent as it is in other fields and it is relatively new in the area of weather forecasting.

The IMD has invited research groups who can study how artificial intelligence be used for improving weather forecasting and the Ministry of Earth Sciences is evaluating their proposals, Mohapatra said.

The IMD, according to him, is also planning to do collaborative studies on this with other institutions. The IMD uses different tools like radars, satellite imagery, to issue nowcasts, which gives information on extreme weather events occurring in the next 3-6 hours.

The IMD issues forecasts for extreme weather events like thunderstorms, dust storms. Unlike cyclones, predictions of thunderstorms, which also bring lightning, squall and heavy rains, are more difficult as the extreme weather events develop and dissipate in a very short period of time.

Last month, over 160 people died due to lightning alone in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The IMD wants to better the nowcast predictions through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

"Artificial intelligence helps in understanding past weather models and this can make decision-making faster," Mohapatra said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. announced new strategies this year to expand the agency's application of four emerging science and technology focus areas — NOAA Unmanned Systems, artificial intelligence, Omics, and the cloud — to guide transformative advancements in the quality and timeliness of NOAA science, products and services.

Omics is a suite of advanced methods used to analyse material such as DNA, RNA, or proteins.

The overarching goal of the NOAA Artificial Intelligence strategy is to utilise artificial intelligence to advance its requirements-driven mission priorities. The NOAA said through this, it seeks to reduce the cost of data processing, and provide higher quality and more timely scientific products and services for societal benefits.

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