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Climate idea

Pilots can easily avoid contrails with the help of Google's AI

Condensation streaks that are more often called contrails So-called contrails can account for as much as 35 percent of global warming caused by the aviation industry. But with the help of an AI system from Google, condensation streaks can be reduced by over 50 percent, new research shows. At a certain temperature and humidity, k-streaks (also known as contrails) are formed by aircraft exhaust. According to SMHI (Swedish Meteorological Institute), they are considered in meteorology as artificial clouds. Clouds can indeed reflect sunlight, but the effect of k-streaks is rather that they absorb heat. Now Google, together with Bill Gates' investment company Breakthrough Energy and American Airlines, has shown that artificial intelligence can greatly reduce the occurrence of k-streaks. A research team has built a forecast map, which predicts when and where k-streaks may occur by first studying tens of thousands of satellite images to detect and label k-streaks. It was fraught with a certain challenge as the streaks can closely resemble ordinary cirrus clouds. Enough to adjust the height a little All the data was then used to train a computer vision model that was taught to detect the streaks. Finally, additional weather and flight data were added to create the forecast map. - It's like a big map that says, "look, planes flying at this altitude will cause contrails. So let's avoid flying right there," explains Scott Geraedts, a software engineer at Google, in a video the company published. Intriguingly, it may be possible to remedy the problem by having a fraction of all flights adjust the cruise altitude slightly to avoid humid areas. It is, as pilot Deborah Hecker says in the video, no stranger or more difficult than trying to avoid turbulence. Until now, it has been difficult to make reliable forecasts of humidity at such altitudes. But when American Airlines conducted 70 test flights with Google's AI system over six months, the amount of k-streaks was reduced by 54 percent. According to the New York Times, the results must next be peer-reviewed before possible publication in a scientific journal. Beyond that, another question mark remains: the k-streaks that trap the most heat occur in the evening or night, but American Airlines' test flights were conducted during the day. However, the researchers are convinced that their system will work equally well regardless of the time of day, something that remains to be seen. Juliet Rothenberg, who works with artificial intelligence and climate at Google, is nevertheless hopeful. - When it comes to climate solutions, this is very special because it can be scaled up in a number of years, it doesn't take decades, she tells the New York Times.

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  • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

    43 w

    This really interesting

    • Princess

      43 w

      Using Google's AI can help pilots navigate more effectively and make better decisions, but avoiding contrails is still a complex task influenced by the weather. Improved technology, including AI, can make flying safer and more efficient, but it might not completely solve the contrail issue.

      • Patrik Lobergh

        43 w

        @princess_nel_268 It looks that it can reduce it by 1/3 so it is a substantial decrease and it just needs to be adopted as a new normal for the airline industry and its pilots

        • Princess

          43 w

          @patrik_lobergh that's a great idea

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