IBM and NASA unite to construct a pioneering GenAI model, set to redefine weather and climate forecasting.

IBM, in collaboration with NASA, is embarking on an ambitious project to develop a GenAI-based foundational model dedicated to weather and climate simulation. This new model aims to surpass the capabilities of current tools, focusing on enhanced speed and efficiency. Traditional weather and climate models rely heavily on solving complex physical equations, a process that is computationally intensive and time-consuming. In contrast, GenAI models promise to deliver results with greater speed and efficiency.

Google DeepMind’s Graphcast, for instance, demonstrated this by computing a global weather forecast for ten days within a minute. IBM and NASA aim to advance this approach by integrating NASA’s comprehensive MERRA2 dataset, which includes sensor data, satellite imagery, and results from numerical simulations. This rich dataset will allow the new model to encapsulate the full dynamics of climate and weather systems.

Dr. Juan Bernabe-Moreno, Director at IBM Research Europe, emphasizes the significance of this collaboration. By harnessing NASA’s data and IBM’s GenAI expertise, the model will not only make short and medium-term weather predictions but also long-term climate forecasts and identify patterns indicative of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts.

This project builds on a previous collaboration where IBM and NASA developed a geospatial GenAI model. That model, now the largest of its kind on the open-source AI platform Hugging Face, has been instrumental in environmental initiatives, from tracking tree planting in Kenya to analyzing urban heat islands in the UAE.

The open-source nature of these models is a crucial aspect of IBM and NASA’s strategy. By making these powerful tools available to the broader scientific community, they aim to enhance collaborative efforts in tackling climate change. This approach not only allows for more targeted climate mitigation strategies but also enables the quantification of their impact, thereby encouraging further action.