The World Expo 2017 was all about future energy. Its topics of green energy, alternative energy resources, and climate change remain at the forefront. Humanity desperately needs new smart technologies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop the climate crisis. Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and bioenergy technologies, carbon capture technologies, electric vehicles, and green buildings are key items introduced to help. Among all of these other technologies is the most promising and fast-growing one: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Climate change means a long-term shift in the planet’s climate patterns, including temperature, precipitation, and weather patterns. Despite common misconception, climate change has always been a natural phenomenon, but after the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, humans became the main driver of climate change. Human activities such as deforestation, burning fossil fuels, and waste production lead to massive greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn lead to rising heat all over the globe.
The term “greenhouse gases” refers to the various gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases that warm the planet by absorbing heat from the sun and emitting radiant energy. The effect of greenhouse gases is easy to understand if one thinks of them as a very thick blanket that is wrapped around the Earth, blocking heat exit roads. Rising temperatures caused by the greenhouse effect lead to changes in weather patterns, sea levels, and the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of greenhouse gases and the factors that cause redundant greenhouse gas production.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere through various human and natural activities. Some of the main sources of CO2 emissions include:
These sources of CO2 emissions are driving ongoing changes to the Earth's climate, including rising global temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events.
While methane has a shorter atmospheric lifetime than carbon dioxide, it is a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term. Therefore, reducing methane emissions is an important part of efforts to address climate change and slow down the rate of global warming.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is another potent greenhouse gas. The main sources of the nutritious oxide emissions are as follows:
Like methane, nitrous oxide has a shorter atmospheric lifetime than carbon dioxide but is a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term.
Fluorinated gases, also known as fluorocarbons or F-gases, are a group of synthetic gases that are primarily used in industrial and commercial applications. Hydrofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, nitrogen trifluoride, and perfluorocarbons are the main fluorinated gases emitted into the atmosphere from various industrial, commercial, and household applications. Even though fluorinated gases are emitted in small amounts, if one compares them to CO2 or methane emissions, the problem is that they have very high GWP (Global Warming Potential) - from thousands to tens of thousands of tonnes. The higher the GWP, the more a greenhouse gas warms the Earth compared to CO2 over the same period of time. The main sources of fluorinated gases include:
Efforts are underway to reduce emissions of fluorinated gases and to find alternative, more sustainable materials and processes that have lower climate impact. This includes transitioning to low-GWP (Global Warming Potential) alternatives, improving the efficiency of refrigeration and air conditioning systems, and reducing emissions from foam production.
Today, CO2 is recognized as the most dangerous greenhouse gas, mainly because its concentration in the atmosphere is the highest;
therefore, its negative effect is the greatest.
As aforementioned, wildfires are one of the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions. The connection between climate change and wildfires is symbiotic.
Wildfires contribute to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which trap heat in the atmosphere and cause global temperatures to rise. Warmer temperatures, in turn, increase the likelihood and severity of drought, which dries out vegetation, making it easier to ignite and spread fires. Higher temperatures also increase evaporation rates, lowering soil moisture and reducing the moisture content of vegetation, creating conditions that are favorable for wildfire. Changes in precipitation patterns can also contribute to increased risk of wildfires by either causing droughts or leading to the growth of excess vegetation, which can fuel fires. Climate change can also alter the frequency and intensity of lightning strikes, which can start fires in dry areas.
Thus, reduction and control of wildfires are crucial for extreme climate change prevention.
With the evolution of technology, a number of wildfire detection and prevention techniques have emerged: I4F, infrared imaging, drones, computer modeling, FUEGO (Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit), and others.
We talked about wildfire detection technologies in more detail in one of our previous posts. Check it out!
Even though all of these technologies are, inarguably, effective and widely used, there is one technology that scientists and climate change experts are especially excited about: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
AI has already revolutionized big data analysis, video monitoring, medical diagnosing, and even creative fields such as content writing. It is about to redefine the way society manages wildfires. AI can be helpful with wildfires in several ways:
Predictive modeling: AI algorithms can be used to analyze historical data on weather patterns, topography, and past fires to predict where and when fires are likely to occur, allowing authorities to take preventative measures.
Fire detection: AI systems can use satellite images and drone footage to detect and track fires in near-real time, allowing authorities to respond quickly.
The fire spread prediction: AI can help predict how a fire will spread based on factors such as wind direction, temperature, and vegetation type, allowing authorities to make more informed decisions about how to contain it.
Resource allocation: AI can be used to optimize resource allocation, such as determining which firefighting teams and equipment should be deployed to which locations, improving the efficiency of firefighting efforts.
Post-fire analysis: AI can be used to analyze post-fire data to gain insights into factors such as fire causes and spread patterns, helping authorities improve their response strategies for future fires.
ALCHERA developed FireScout in order to contribute to the fight against climate change.
FireScout is a world-class fire detection software for cameras. It is the only wildfire monitoring system that allows both day and nighttime wildfire detection.
FireScout can be applied to any existing full high-definition camera, which makes it easy to integrate FireScout into government and utility alert and emergency response systems.
FireScout detects smoke or fire as soon as it becomes visible within the panoramic camera view and uploads images to AWS or any other cloud server. FireScout then alerts CCTV operators, who can verify that an event is an actual fire and notify first responders, utilities, and other officials.
The best thing about FireScout is that it can detect fires within the “golden time” of 10 to 20 minutes with 99% accuracy. Thus, a fire source can be managed before it is too late.
Another advantage of FireScout is that its training never ends: It continuously learns to recognize smoke not only from images and videos in the database, but also from video clips of fires previously detected by FireScout.
Join FireScout to protect not just your property, but our Earth. Remember: There is no Planet B.