Met Éireann, UCD begin research programme supporting weather and climate services development with AI

Collaboration marks a starting point for Met Éireann Weather & Climate Research Professorship

14 December 2023

Met Éireann and UCD have unveiled a multi-million-euro academic research programme to support the further development of weather and climate services for Ireland using data science and artificial intelligence.

The Met Éireann Weather and Climate Research Professorship will incorporate a €1 million annual investment for an initial period of five years. Overseen by an expert knowledge transfer team at Met Éireann working closely with a professor-led research group at UCD School of Mathematics & Statistics and UCD Earth Institute, the partnership will build further capacity and capability in data science and AI in the higher education sector.

In direct response to impacts of climate change, the overarching objectives of the collaboration will focus on enhancing citizen safety, bolstering economic and environmental resilience, and supporting weather-sensitive sectors, by harnessing the latest innovations in the use of data science and AI in weather and climate services.

The programme will work to bridge the gap between research and operations, by conducting cutting-edge, user-oriented studies, in the context of high impact weather, flood forecasting and the understanding of our climate, and using knowledge gained to train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The research and development of AI models and techniques will enable Met Éireann to build on existing state-of-the-art forecasting capabilities, while developing skill levels to further enhance national capabilities and capacity in weather, climate and hydrology, and help to make Ireland even more weather and climate prepared for the future.

The establishment of the Met Éireann Research Professorship follows an international peer review process, through which UCD’s application was selected based on its demonstration of excellence and impact, and its commitment to collaboration and knowledge transfer for the benefit of society and the economy.

Eoin Moran, director of Met Éireann, said: “This Professorship is an innovative and first-of-its-kind partnership for Met Éireann. In doing this, we are putting Met Éireann at the forefront of technological developments that will shape national meteorological and hydrological services for years to come.

“Not only is it a significant investment in the development of national forecasting capabilities and capacity but it will help make Ireland even more weather and climate prepared, by enhancing and improving the level of information available to the public.

“We are hugely excited by the prospect of working closely with UCD, and of the potential opportunities this could lead to in the responsible use of AI for good.”

Prof Helen Roche, UCD interim vice president for research, impact & innovation said: “The emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning provides an opportunity to enhance our forecasting capabilities. UCD’s world-leading experts in this dynamic field are conceiving and evolving creative solutions that impact all of society and our daily life.

“UCD researchers will help develop AI-enhanced models to enable Met Éireann to build on its forecasting capabilities and make Ireland even more weather and climate prepared.

“This ground-breaking partnership between UCD and Met Éireann will help produce the next generation of climate and weather scientists and help ensure that we have the tools and expertise needed to tackle the climate emergency.

TechCentral Reporters

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