Climate change is real and it’s taking a grotesque avatar as you read this. Scientists believe that we are already too late in realizing this but there are still many who are becoming conscious about it recently. The average temperature of the Earth’s climate system is consistently increasing. With the rise in the sea levels due to melting glaciers, land is becoming more prone to earthquakes and coastal regions more susceptible to tsunamis, climate change or global warming is projected to have a catastrophic effect on our planet. Weather Analytics states that climate change will affect more than 33% of worldwide GDP, which will in-turn impede the growth of numerous industries. According to United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there will be rapid, long-term and unprecedented changes in all aspects of the society.
Role of data science in tackling climate change
The emerging revolutionary technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, driven by data science, must be leveraged to build solutions that can help curb the crisis of climate change. Data science has enabled humans to efficiently analyze large data sets and unravel critical insights about climate change. For example, in 2017, land equivalent to 40 football grounds was lost per minute to deforestation. Our planet, between 2001 and 2015, lost more than a quarter of tree cover worldwide to commodity demands.
Be it historic data or real-time, big data can indeed help us tackle the problem by enabling us to take proactive measures. For example, by predicting an approaching natural disaster, pointing out disaster prone areas or locating places with harmful emissions etc. This digital transformation leading to the enhancement of the capabilities of data is indeed ground breaking. Countries are actively participating in building satellites that are loaded with state-of-the-art super computers – capable of collecting, analyzing and formulating insights. Detecting the “point-source” of the climate pollutants, monitoring other harmful leaks, combining the satellite image data to monitor the land usage and much more can be easily handled by the AI systems being powered by data science. This path-breaking technology can contribute towards discovering answers to questions like – why we are losing forests, what needs to be done to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions, how can we improve land management etc.
An Energy efficient future – Led by Data Science
Finding patterns in data can aid in deciphering out-of-the-box solutions in the field of energy, helping us become sustainable. To tackle this war against climate change, data- driven technologies have emerged as the sole protagonist. Examples from the recent history provide enough proof that data science provides a holistic approach to the problem of climate change, enabling us to anticipate any undesirable outcomes. For example, a decade ago, western countries made the use of vegetable oils in biofuels mandatory. Fast forwarding to today’s date, the mass utilization of biofuels led to massive deforestation in Indonesia, where rainforests were transformed into farms of palm oil. If we had the technical strength of data science back then, this incident could have been prevented.
There are many data driven solutions being created to help lower the emission of greenhouse gases and empower us to move forward towards a clean, renewable and sustainable future. Data science has the capability to take on this battle with full force, and we as humans, knowing the amount of potential it possesses, must leave no stone unturned to explore ways to win this fight.