China to build independent large scale AI model for weather forecastings
Published: Aug 04, 2023 12:24 AM
AI Photo:VCG

AI Photo:VCG

The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Thursday held a meeting to analyze the current development situation of large-scale artificial intelligence (AI) models and further determine the path to independently creating a large scale AI model for forecasting the weather . 

Chen Zhenlin, head of the CMA, said that it is necessary to deeply understand the important strategic significance of building large-scale models to boost the high-quality development of meteorology, strengthen confidence, carry out work effectively, and promote the construction of large-scale models in an orderly manner, according to an official statement.

Building a large scale AI model for weather forecasting is conducive to opening up a new track for high-quality meteorological development, injecting new momentum into the modernization of meteorological technology capabilities, and accelerating the reform of the meteorological business technology system, the meeting concluded.

The meeting also issued three requirements for work to develop a large scale AI model for weather forecasting, including bolstering the basic capabilities for building such a model. It urged stakeholders to accelerate  the construction of next-generation atmospheric reanalysis datasets and special benchmark datasets. It also called for bolstering computing capabilities, eyeing to form basic computing resources capable of supporting large-scale model research and development by 2025.

Moreover, the meeting urged to the research and development work plan for an AI model, and accelerate the construction of independent and controllable large-scale models. It also placed the focus on research and development and strive for independent breakthroughs in key technologies.

The CAM's plan for a large-scale AI mode for weather forecasting comes as China is steadily pushing ahead development in the AI sector. Over the past three years, Chinese organizations have developed at least 79 large-scale AI models with over 1 billion parameters each, according to a report from the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Technology, released at the end of May.

Apart from the plan for a  large-scale AI model, Chinese officials are also adopting other advanced technologies in weather forecasting. On Thursday, China successfully launched a meteorological satellite, the Fengyun-3 06, which is expected to provide more accurate forecasts for extreme weather events including rain storms and typhoons. 

The plan also comes as extreme weather conditions are posing great challenges for weather forecasting as well as the protection of life and livelihood. This week, Beijing, North China's Hebei and other parts of the country were hit by severe rainfalls brought by Typhoon Doksuir. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities said that multiple parts of northern and southern China will face high risk of flooding in August as two or three typhoons will make landfall or influence weather systems across the country.