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A study by German scientists from Jena and Hamburg, published today in the journal Nature, shows that artificial intelligence (AI) can substantially improve our understanding of the climate and the Earth system. Especially the potential of deep learning has only partially been exhausted so far. In particular, complex dynamic processes such as hurricanes, fire propagation, and vegetation dynamics can be better described with the help of AI. As a result, climate and Earth system models will be improved, with new models combining artificial intelligence and physical modeling.
In the past decades mainly static attributes have been investigated using machine learning approaches, such as the distribution of soil properties from the local to the global scale. For some time now, it has been possible to tackle more dynamic processes by using more sophisticated deep learning techniques. This allows for example to quantify the global photosynthesis on land with simultaneous consideration of seasonal and short term variations.
Plethora - Sensors - Deluge - Earth - System
"From a plethora of sensors, a deluge of Earth system data has become available, but so far we've been lagging behind in analysis and interpretation," explains Markus Reichstein, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, directory board member of the Michael-Stifel-Center Jena (MSCJ) and first author of the publication. "This is where deep learning techniques become a promising tool, beyond the classical machine learning applications such as image recognition, natural language processing or AlphaGo," adds co-author Joachim Denzler from the Computer Vision Group of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU)...
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