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Artificial Intelligence designed to predict rainfall within two hours

Artificial Intelligence could predict if it will rain within two hours.

Scientists have developed new AI that can be used to predict whether rain will fall within two hours, which could help save lives in the event of critical storms and floods.

Google-owned London AI lab DeepMind partnered with the University of Exeter and the Met Office to build the new system, which they have called nowcasting.

Traditional methods of forecast prediction currently use complex equations and often forecast for only between six hours and two weeks' time.

The AI system can make more accurate short-term predictions, and with climate change making it harder to anticipate adverse weather conditions, researchers believe the new system will help ease the significant damage that intense rainfall can create by giving more accurate warnings.

Met Office partnerships and product innovation head Niall Robinson said: “Extreme weather has catastrophic consequences, including loss of life and, as the effects of climate change suggest, these types of events are set to become more common.

“As such, better short-term weather forecasts can help people stay safe and thrive.”

The AI system learned how to identify common patterns of rainfall using UK radar maps from 2016 to 2018.

It was then tested on maps from 2019 and was found by 50 Met Office meteorologists to be accurate in 89 percent of cases.

The research, published in the journal Nature, found: "Meteorologists significantly preferred the [AI] approach to competing methods."

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