Exeter University researches developing AI that can reveal climate change tipping points
A new AI program being developed by researchers at the University of Exeter is working on predicting the points at which irreversible climate changes could occur, giving us a chance to prevent them.
This new system, which has been constructed through a hybrid of AI and mathematical theories of tipping points, has been programmed to learn the general characteristics of tipping points after being taught 500,000 different possible models.
Our improved method could raise red flags when we’re close to a dangerous tipping point.
The algorithm is also capable of revealing the events that could ensue a crossing of these climate thresholds. Some of the tipping points are the melting of Arctic permafrost, which could release large quantities of methane and increase the rate of heating; the breakdown of oceanic current systems, which could trigger almost immediate changes in weather patterns; and the disintegration of ice sheets, capable of causing quick changes in sea-levels.
The next step for researchers is to feed the AI system contemporary trends in climate change. Professor Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter, has said that “our improved method could raise red flags when we’re close to a dangerous tipping point”.
Editor: Orla Mackinnon