Artificial Intelligence Brings Better Hurricane Predictions

Hurricane Ida was among the most intense and damaging hurricanes in Louisiana’s history. The violent storm rose to a Category 1 hurricane on Friday, August 27. It then climbed another two categories in two days, jumping from Category 3 to 4 in only an hour.

Thankfully, forecasting models help us predict when, where, and how strongly hurricanes may strike. But such rapid intensification—Ida’s the most recent example—can elude the predictions of even the best models. Accurately predicting the brief windows in which these violent storms surge and strengthen is a lingering blind spot within the hurricane forecasting community.

Now, thanks to a new model developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, better predicting hurricane intensity in both the near future and under future climate scenarios is within reach. Using artificial intelligence techniques, the team created a model that can, on average, more accurately predict hurricane intensity relative to models used at the national level. And it can run on a commercial laptop.

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