Major Cloud Providers’ Growing Assistance in the Climate Crisis
November 27, 2020
AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure are increasing their support in providing the computing power scientists need to gain insights from the vast ocean that is climate data.
Climate science researchers are turning to the cloud for its ability to process vast amounts of data. Researchers understand that any of the big three cloud providers can be an affordable, valuable alternative to having their own hardware.
Even more important than the pricing benefits, the cloud’s compute power gives the researchers an advantage through running machine-learning algorithms that can extract insights and identify patterns from huge amounts of data sets.
How are the big three already helping?
Last year, Oxford researchers began using AWS ML tools to examine aerosols affect on clouds. They trained an ML algorithm to examine petabytes (one petabyte = one million gigabytes) of satellite images to identify specific clouds which have aesthetics that reveal their exposure to aerosols. Without this tool, they would have had to do a statistical analysis from a select number of images - manually. Next, they’ll use ML to help determine the relationship between aerosols and clouds to see if it is causal rather than statistical.
Microsoft has established an AI for Earth program that offers grants and technical assistance for special projects.
In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a partnership with Google Cloud to collaborate on how the cloud’s machine-learning tools could more accurately forecast weather and monitor extreme activity, i.e. hurricanes.
As time progresses, technology further evolves and the climate crisis becomes more prominent, it is safe to say that big tech’s role and aid will become more substantial.