Google’s Expanded ‘Flood Hub’ Uses AI to Help Us Adapt to Extreme Weather

Article by Jeff Young: “Google announced Tuesday that a tool using artificial intelligence to better predict river floods will be expanded to the U.S. and Canada, covering more than 800 North American riverside communities that are home to more than 12 million people. Google calls it Flood Hub, and it’s the latest example of how AI is being used to help adapt to extreme weather events associated with climate change.

“We see tremendous opportunity for AI to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges, and climate change is very much one of those,” Google’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Kate Brandt, told Newsweek in an interview.

At an event in Brussels on Tuesday, Google announced a suite of new and expanded sustainability initiatives and products. Many of them involve the use of AI, such as tools to help city planners find the best places to plant trees and modify rooftops to buffer against city heat, and a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to use AI to improve maps related to wildfires.

Google Flood Hub Model AI extreme weather
A diagram showing the development of models used in Google’s Flood Hub, now available for 800 riverside locations in the U.S. and Canada. Courtesy of Google Research…

Brandt said Flood Hub’s engineers use advanced AI, publicly available data sources and satellite imagery, combined with hydrologic models of river flows. The results allow flooding predictions with a longer lead time than was previously available in many instances…(More)”.