Climate Change: AI, Machine Learning Join The Fight


Climate change is real and global warming is taking a toll on flora and fauna alike. Take Delhi for instance, the air quality is so hazardous that it's causing serious health implications. Most recently, the Australian bushfires have devastated life on the continent. Technologies like AI and machine learning are pitching in to help protect the environment.

Tech Fights Against Climate Change

Tech Fights Against Climate Change

Fighting climate change is a humongous task. We can switch to renewable energy sources and reduce global emissions. Adding to these practices, artificial intelligence and machine learning can help in the conservation of the environment. For instance, emerging technologies like AI, IoT, and so on are helping authorities detect acts of poaching and deforestation.

Machine Learning

More importantly, technology is creating awareness. For instance, the Machine Learning-based detector mode developed by Princeton is helping estimate the number of penguins from images captured using multiple camera traps placed across Antarctica. The detector is being used by US-based data science company Gramerner to create an image dataset of the penguin colonies.

Next, the company used multi-column convolution neural networks or CNN. The deep learning model was trained on Microsoft's DSVM (data science virtual machine) platform and used Intel's Xeon scalable processors to repurpose and benchmark it. The model adopted a density-based counting approach as it gives accurate results more quickly.

AI For Climate Change

AI For Climate Change

That's not all. Artificial intelligence also plays an important role in environmental conservation. Take the Elephant Listening Project for instance. It uses acoustic sensors to listen to the forest elephants in Africa, whose population has shrunk due to extensive poaching for ivory. The system was developed by California-based Conservation Metrics and uses AI and ML.

The system can identify the low-frequency rumbling sounds made by elephants to communicate with each other amid sounds made by other animals. Microsoft's Azure solutions are enabled by Conservation Metrics to process months of sound data in a few weeks.

Illegal deforestation and poaching activities are also captured using sensors. San Francisco-based Rainforest Connection has created an acoustic alert system that picks up sounds of deforestation and poaching like chainsaws, bullets fired, vehicles, and more. If these sounds are picked up, an immediate alert is sent to the authorities to nab the culprits.

Is it Helping?

Is it Helping?

The Center for Science and Environment notes that 30 percent of premature deaths in the country are caused by air pollution. The recent bushfire in Australia killed an estimated one billion animals and has endangered more than 100 different species. If unchecked, global warming and climate change will have a devastating permanent effect on life on Earth.

Emerging technologies including AI, ML, and IoT are helping change the world's approach to solving this massive problem. Datasets that took months and years to decipher are now done in a few weeks. As environmentalists embrace these technologies on a larger scale, we're certain to see the effects.

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