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Enhancing Weather Forecasting with Generative AI – Google Research Blog

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In Short:

Accurate weather forecasts are essential for everyday decisions and safety during extreme weather events. Google Research has developed SEEDS, a generative AI model to efficiently generate large ensembles of weather forecasts at a low cost, improving the accuracy of probabilistic forecasting. This innovative technology can help in forecasting rare and extreme weather events, providing crucial information for emergency preparedness and decision-making.


Google Research Innovations in Weather Forecasting

Accurate weather forecasts play a crucial role in people’s daily lives, from planning activities to preparing for hazardous weather conditions. Recognizing the importance of reliable weather information, Google has been investing in weather and climate research to enhance forecasting technologies. Recent innovations include MetNet-3, providing high-resolution forecasts up to 24 hours ahead, and GraphCast, a weather model predicting up to 10 days ahead.

Introducing SEEDS: A Revolutionary Weather Forecasting Model

Traditional weather forecasting methods rely on physics-based simulations, which are computationally intensive and may not accurately predict rare and extreme weather events. To address this, Google Research has introduced Scalable Ensemble Envelope Diffusion Sampler (SEEDS), a generative AI model published in Science Advances. SEEDS efficiently generates ensembles of weather forecasts at scale, providing accurate predictions at a fraction of the cost of traditional forecasting models.

The Importance of Probabilistic Forecasts

Weather is stochastic, and errors in initial conditions can lead to significant deviations in forecasts. Recognizing this, weather agencies issue probabilistic forecasts based on ensembles of deterministic forecasts with synthetic noise, aiming to quantify uncertainty in weather conditions. However, generating these forecasts is computationally intensive, limiting the number of ensemble members produced.

Advantages of SEEDS

SEEDS leverages generative AI to efficiently generate large ensembles of weather forecasts with high accuracy. The model outperforms traditional physics-based ensembles in skill metrics while significantly reducing computational costs. Moreover, SEEDS can provide better statistical coverage of extreme weather events, offering valuable insights for emergency preparedness and risk assessment.

Future Outlook

The introduction of SEEDS represents a significant step towards advancing operational numerical weather prediction. By combining physics-based models with generative AI, SEEDS offers a promising alternative to traditional forecasting methods. Google Research believes that AI technologies like SEEDS will play a crucial role in enhancing weather forecasting and climate risk assessment in the future.

Acknowledgements

The SEEDS team at Google Research, including Lizao Li, Rob Carver, and other researchers, have contributed to this groundbreaking work. Collaboration with colleagues and experts in the field has been instrumental in the development and success of SEEDS, paving the way for future advancements in weather forecasting.

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