The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Microsoft are working together to advance the agency’s climate goals under a new cooperative research and development agreement using Microsoft’s cloud computing tools while engaging in the climate-related research and development.
According to Wednesday’s announcement, the agreement will further the agency’s mission to “create a climate-ready nation” by allowing NOAA scientists and engineers to work with Microsoft through research and development initiatives to achieve five of NOAA’s goals over the next year.
“We are excited about the potential for partnership between NOAA Environmental Intelligence and
Microsoft’s cloud computing in hopes of amplifying NOAA’s ability to predict climate, weather,
and ocean changes,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad.
Specifically, NOAA and Microsoft hope this will help the agency’s Earth Prediction Innovation Center carry out pilot projects using Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform to facilitate Earth system modeling and research. with projects across government, universities and the private sector.
They will also leverage machine learning to improve the agency’s climate and forecasting models for air quality, wildfire smoke and particulate pollution. In particular, scientists from NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory in collaboration with Microsoft and researchers from George Mason University will explore the use of machine learning to improve the accuracy and computational efficiency of composition models. atmospheric NOAA.
NOAA uses atmospheric composition modeling for its air quality forecasts, wildfire smoke plume modeling and forecasting, and global aerosol and climate modeling. According to a NOAA spokesperson, “The computational requirements for atmospheric composition modeling are orders of magnitude greater than numerical weather prediction and strain the resources of high-performance computing systems and forecasting centers. operations”, NOAA is therefore seeking to reduce this technical burden through machine learning. .
The NOAA spokesperson noted that uses of this technology could include: “air quality forecast ensembles, reduced atmospheric composition surface concentrations to high-resolution mesh products, deterministic forecasts aerosol distribution in regional and global weather forecast models and computational speed improvements for comprehensive aerosol chemistry and climate”. models.”
With respect to the NOAA Fisheries survey, the agreement will allow Microsoft to integrate its computing tools to advance the collection, processing, storage and dissemination of survey data as well as observation of data to further support sustainable fishing.
Microsoft and NOAA will develop a new searchable catalog of ocean observations that will contain case studies and how they can be used to strengthen public policy, security, economic growth, environmental protection and climate resilience. Additionally, it will help create a resilient and accessible weather modeling and forecasting system to enable data collection, access, and processing across NOAA and enable the use of external data.
“We are honored to partner with NOAA to bring the power of cloud computing to help our
the nation’s top scientists are solving some of the important challenges facing the world,” said Rick Wagner, president of Microsoft Federal. “The artificial intelligence of Microsoft Azure and the high
performance computing capabilities can help NOAA accelerate critical research and foster innovative approaches to mitigating the risk of climate change.
NOAA does not fund its partnership with Microsoft because the authority of CRADA does not allow the federal government to fund an agreement. A NOAA spokesperson said that “instead, CRADAs allow NOAA to share ideas, technical expertise, facilities and/or other research materials and intellectual property “.
The agency previously worked with Microsoft on another CRADA exploring how Microsoft’s Azure could help NOAA satellites by using commercial cloud operations to control satellites and obtain data in a cyber-secure environment, specifically providing management of the mission from satellites to legacy satellites.
NOAA has partnered with other private sector companies through other CRADA agreements for research and development to further the agency’s mission. For example, during this year’s hurricane season, NOAA and ocean data solutions company Saildrone worked to collect hurricane data and improve hurricane weather forecasts by deploying multiple hurricane tracking drones.
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