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The Future Is Extreme Weather & AI To Fight It

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Weather-related supply-chain disruptions have impacted industries worldwide with growing intensity over the last decade.

 

According to Deloitte, 48 percent of executives have experienced negative consequences from weather-related supply chain disruptions in the past five years. Moreover, 53 percent report that these disruptions have become more costly over the same period, with top costs including margin erosion, demand shifts, and product flow.

Make no mistake: things are not going to get better. In fact, they will get worse.

In 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that climate change was strengthening “extreme weather” events such as heatwaves, blizzards, and hurricanes. In 2022, the IPCC warned that some consequences of climate change had become “irreversible.” Ultimately, the question is not “if” businesses will have to adapt to extreme weather but “how” they will do so, facing a future of destructive and escalating weather disruptions.

 

The Problem is Predictability

Extreme weather, a.k.a. unseasonable or severe weather, is difficult to combat for two reasons. First, extreme weather comes in many forms—from flash floods to droughts; blizzards to heatwaves; hurricanes to wildfires, etc. Each of these forms presents a unique challenge. 

Second, extreme weather is difficult to forecast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that “a 10-day [weather] forecast is only right about half the time.” Meteorological variables are multitude and dynamic, making forecasts expensive and imprecise.

 

Artificial Intelligence is the Solution

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a promising array of solutions to extreme weather. Industry up-and-comers like tomorrow.io, alongside established powers like Google, are harnessing AI to enable more accurate, localized, and long-term weather forecasts. 

AI combines computer efficiency and human-inspired intelligence to predict extreme weather. One exciting example is a machine learning algorithm developed by Stanford researchers to detect early indicators for heavy rain. The researchers trained the algorithm to identify atmospheric patterns, allowing it to predict heavy rain with more than 90 percent accuracy. 

Soon, AI will help businesses predict weather-related supply-chain disruptions days, weeks, or perhaps even months in advance. Remember: extreme weather is dangerous because it’s varied and difficult to forecast with traditional techniques and instruments. AI offers a solution: the ability to predict and, therefore, prepare for extreme weather before it happens.

 

Synaptiq’s Work in Extreme Weather

Synaptiq is no stranger to extreme weather. We partnered with a client to enable localized wildfire detection. Our client created an early-warning system to detect wildfires and alert nearby residents: a smartphone app that allows users to report wildfires and tag their location, creating a collaborative map of wildfire activity. We contributed a machine vision system to accept and filter user image submissions, which helps to validate wildfire reports.

In 2021, Synaptiq helped a client develop a satellite-based solution for early wildfire detection. We helped create a system that takes input from stratospheric (low-orbit) balloons with heat-sensing equipment and alerts fire departments when it detects the conditions for a wildfire. You can read more about our work in this area and more in our 2021 year-in-review blog post.2021 Year-In-Review

In the U.S. alone, about 4.5 million homes are considered at high or extreme risk of wildfire. This number is rising, as extreme heat events like this summer’s Pacific Northwest “heat dome” create the perfect conditions for ignition. First responders can effectively contain young wildfires, but weather and geography make it difficult to predict their movement. Synaptiq’s work is just one example of AI making extreme weather more predictable, to everyone’s benefit.

 

The Most Important Takeaway

Extreme weather is the new normal. Businesses must adapt by adopting AI-enabled weather prediction, or shoulder the growing cost of weather-related supply-chain disruptions.

Want to know more about the role of AI in combating climate change and its consequences? Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog posts about AI solutions to prevent methane leaks and the crucial role of human “risk assessors” in interpreting AI weather prediction tools.

 

HOW SYNAPTIQ CAN HELP

Synaptiq focuses on the humankind of AI; building a better world as we lean into an age of human and machine interaction.

We believe solving serious challenges, making real impact and saving lives is worth every waking moment. So we collaborate and make thoughtful considerations across disciplines examining past, present and future models of merit. Whether history, science, math, nature, human behavior; they all inform the data and ideas that help us find answers to world-class riddles.

We keep our AI on people because AI is how we do it, humanity is why we do it.

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