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NOAA Workshop Supports Artificial Intelligence

Meeting advances learning and sharing in environmental sciences

Graphic of artificial intelligence technology and data
Courtesy of NOAA NCEI, Barbara Ambrose

Artificial intelligence (AI) experts, new and seasoned practitioners, and scientists come together this month to advance uses of AI in environmental sciences. Organized by NOAA and Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), the 3rd NOAA AI Workshop on Leveraging AI in Environmental Sciences entails five full days of events from September 13–17, 2021, plus a pre-conference hackathon starting September 7. 

The workshop theme, “Transforming Weather, Climate Services, and Blue Economy with Artificial Intelligence,” promotes discussions and networking across public, private, and academic sectors. Those who work across these fields with an interest in AI are encouraged to attend the free virtual event. Registration is open to the public through Sunday, Sept. 12.

This year’s workshop is led by the NOAA Center for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI), an emerging program supporting AI and machine-learning adoption and development to further NOAA’s mission.

NOAA AI Workshop Highlights


Tuesday–Friday, September 7–10

The pre-conference hackathon and tutorial event invites fellow participants to meet and team up to develop creative solutions for environmental challenges using environmental data and data science methods. The hackathon is a collaboration with the Climate Informatics community and various research groups.

Topics and affiliated organizations for the hackathon include:

  • Colorado wildfire risk estimation with Earth Lab at University of Colorado, Boulder: Estimate the risk of wildfire damages to human settlements and buildings in Colorado using weather information, topology, development density, and vegetation data.
  • Marine heatwave prediction with Columbia University: Develop innovative ways to understand the relationship between weather and surface mixed layer factors and the onset and end of marine heatwave events using historical climatology data.
  • Climate model emulation with University of Oxford: Use data science methods to predict annual mean global distributions of temperature and precipitation given emissions and concentrations of key human-caused climate change contributors: sulfur dioxide (SO2), black carbon (BC), methane (CH4), and carbon dioxide (CO2). 

Posters, Presentations, and Plenaries

Monday–Friday, September 13–17 

Two hundred presentations, both oral and posters, will cover many topics: AI for weather and climate, AI for blue economy, trustworthy and responsible AI, community of practice and workforce development, seamless AI systems, research-to-operation and  commercialization, and tools and datasets. See the complete workshop schedule for details.

Eight plenary sessions will feature speakers from academia, government, and private industries. Talks are scheduled from several NOAA leaders: Dr. Richard (Rick) Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator; Mary Wohlgemuth, Director of NCEI; DaNa Carlis, Deputy Director of NOAA Global Systems Laboratory; and Eric Kihn, Chief of the NCEI Center for Oceans and Coasts, among other experts from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), the UK Met Office, Google, and several academic institutions. See plenary topics and times below (Mountain Time). Plenaries will be live streamed from the ESIP YouTube Channel.

Monday, September 13 (Mountain Time)

Tuesday, September 14

Wednesday, September 15

Thursday, September 16

Friday, September 17