IBM advances geospatial AI to address climate change

December 7, 2023  - By


IBM, a global technology provider, has released its latest geospatial artificial intelligence (AI) initiative to address climate change. These efforts involve collaborations across various regions and uses advanced AI models designed for geospatial applications. 

Central to these initiatives is IBM’s geospatial foundation model, developed jointly with NASA. These models aim to generate environmental insights and solutions related to climate change. Unlike traditional AI models, these use a vast amount of climate-relevant data to accelerate the analysis of various environmental aspects that are affected by climate change. 

“AI foundation models utilizing geospatial data can be a game-changer, allowing us to better understand and address climate-related events with unprecedented speed and efficiency,” said Alessandro Curioni, IBM fellow and vice president of Accelerated Discovery. 

Analyzing urban heat islands in UAE 

IBM and the Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) have partnered to map urban heat islands in Abu Dhabi using a fine-tuned version of IBM’s geospatial foundation model. The goal of the project is to understand the impact of local landscapes on temperature anomalies, the company said. The initial results show a decrease in heat island effects, which can provide valuable insights for future urban design strategies. 

Reforestation and water sustainability in Kenya 

 In partnership with Kenya’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Ali Mohamed, IBM is supporting the National Tree Growing and Restoration Campaign. The initiative aims to plant 15 billion trees by 2032, particularly in critical water tower areas affected by deforestation. IBM’s geospatial model powers a digital platform to track tree planting activities, aiding local efforts in restoring forests and measuring carbon sequestration impact.  

Elevating climate resiliency in the UK 

In collaboration with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Royal Haskoning DHV, IBM is developing AI-driven tools for climate risk assessment in the UK. These tools will focus on assessing weather impacts on aviation operations, the company said. Additionally, the TreesAI research project aims to map areas suitable for tree planting to mitigate surface water flooding and offer urban developers a digital planning platform.  

IBM extends collaboration with NASA for weather forecasting 

IBM and NASA have partnered to develop an AI foundation model dedicated to weather and climate applications. The collaboration aims to enhance the accuracy and speed of weather forecasting, predict wildfire conditions and understand meteorological phenomena. IBM researchers will work closely with NASA to train and validate this model, IBM said.