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How Google is using artificial intelligence to help tackle the climate crisis

How Google is using artificial intelligence to help tackle the climate crisis

How Google is using artificial intelligence to help tackle the climate crisis

It turns out that Google operates in the realm of sustainability quite a bit. Communities around the world are grappling with the effects of climate change – from devastating floods and wildfires to challenges around food security. The key focus will be how we can work together to tackle the climate change crisis and implement sustainable solutions. At Google, investors are investing in technologies that can help communities prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters and threats.

Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change. As part of Google's crisis response efforts, they're working to bring reliable information to people at critical moments to keep them informed and safe. To this end, Google relies on the research and development of AI-powered technologies and partnerships with emergency workers and leading organizations around the world. Here's a look at some of the crisis response efforts and the new ways Google is expanding these tools.

Artificial intelligence that warns of floods

Floods: Catastrophic damage from flooding affects more than 250 million people each year. In 2018, Google launched their flood prediction initiative that uses machine learning models to provide people with detailed alerts. In 2021, they sent 115 million flood alerts to 23 million people through search and maps, helping save lives.

Today, Google is expanding its flood forecasts to river basins in 18 other countries across Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. In addition, they announce the global launch of the new FloodHub , a platform that displays flood forecasts and shows when and where floods may occur. To help people at risk and provide critical information to aid organizations and governments. This expansion in geographic coverage is possible thanks to Google's recent breakthroughs in AI-based flood prediction models, and they are committed to expanding to other countries.

From Google's official website

Fire detection satellites

Wildfires: Forest fires affect hundreds of thousands of people each year, increasing in frequency and size. Google identifies the boundaries of fires using new artificial intelligence models, based on satellite images and showing their location in real time in search and maps. Since July, Google has covered more than 30 major fire events in the U.S. and Canada, helping inform people and fire crews with more than 7 million search and map views. Currently, all field fire detection is available in the US, Canada, Mexico and parts of Australia.

Managing current and future climate impacts

Climate change poses a threat to our world's natural resources and food security. And Google is working with governments, organizations and communities to provide information and technologies to help address these changes.

Keeping cities greener and healthier

Extreme temperatures and poor air quality are increasingly common in cities and can affect public health. To mitigate this phenomenon, their Project Green Light uses artificial intelligence to optimize traffic lights at intersections around the world to help minimize congestion and related pollution.

Google uses aerial images collected by planes around the world to improve Google Maps and Google Earth. In the Tree Canopy Lab, they use the same images to estimate tree canopy coverage across U.S. cities.

Project Air View also brings detailed air quality maps to scientists, policymakers, and communities. Google is also working to expand Environmental Insights Explorer's Tree Canopy Insights tool to hundreds of cities by the end of this year so they can use trees to lower street levels and improve quality of life.

Helping farmers protect their crops

Pests can threaten entire crops and affect the livelihoods of millions. In collaboration withInstaDeepand the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Google's team at Google's Artificial Intelligence Center in Ghana is using artificial intelligence to better detect locust outbreaks. So that control measures can be implemented. In India,Google.orgcolleagues worked withWadhwani AIto create an AI-driven app that helps identify and treat pest infections, resulting in a 20% reduction in pesticide sprays and a 26% increase in profit margins for farmers. Google Cloudis also working with agricultural technology companies to use "machine learning" and cloud services to improve crop yields.

 

Variable planet analysis

With Google Cloud and Google Earth Engine, organizations and businesses can better assess and manage climate risk. For example, the U.S. Forest Service uses these tools to analyze changes in soil cover, to better respond to new forest fire threats, and to monitor the effects of invasive insects, disease, and drought.

AI already plays a critical role in addressing many urgent climate-related challenges. "It's important that we continue to invest in research and raise awareness of why we're doing this work," the company says. Google Arts & Culture collaborated with artists on the Culture meets Climate collection so everyone can explore more perspectives on climate change. And Google's COP27 hopes to create more awareness and engage in fruitful discussions about how to use AI, innovations and shared data to help global communities cope with the changing climate.

Supporting Green Entrepreneurs and Organizations

"We support organizations that use data and technology to enable everyone to create and live in a more sustainable world," Google notes.

Since cities now account for more than 70% of global emissions, it is important to support them in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Tools like Google's Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), which has expanded to more than 100 cities around the world, make it easier to measure, plan and reduce carbon emissions.

The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) tool uses exclusive data sources and the ability to model on the freely available platform (Google Cloud). To help cities and regions measure sources of emissions, run analytics and identify emissions reduction strategies – creating a foundation for effective action.

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