World Community Grid

Supercharging Climate Change Research with IBM Data and Technology

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Every year, a growing number of companies celebrate Earth Day with environmentally friendly programs that reflect the strengths of their business models and corporate missions. For example, earlier this week Lyft committed to make all its rides carbon-neutral, while General Mills announced it is close to doubling its organic acreage.

At the IBM Foundation, our Earth Day celebration is in keeping with our tradition of advancing science knowledge, the cornerstone of technological achievement: We’re elated to announce grants of IBM’s technology and data to three groups of scientists who are working at the forefront of climate change and environmental research.

As our planet faces the mounting impacts of climate change, scientists on the front lines of research are held back by bottlenecks that are slowing their urgent work. We’ve heard from scientists conducting foundational research that they often have limited access to weather data, insufficient computing power, and data storage capacity to accurately simulate the impacts of climate change.

To address this need, late last year we invited scientists to apply for grants of crowdsourced supercomputing power from IBM’s World Community Grid; weather data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business; and IBM Cloud Object Storage to supercharge their research.

We’ve chosen three groundbreaking research projects from more than 70 applications around the world for their potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of climate change impacts and potential solutions:

Impact of climate change on public health (Emory University, USA)
This project will examine the impact of climate change on temperature and air pollution at local levels, helping researchers understand the impact of a changing climate on human health.

Impact of atmospheric aerosols on climate change (Far Eastern Federal University, Russia)
Atmospheric aerosols, such as dust, smoke and pollution, both absorb and reflect sunlight in the atmosphere, and represent the greatest area of uncertainty in climate science today, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This project aims to determine how super-micron particles (6 to 12 micrometers in diameter) interact with sunlight and how they contribute to atmospheric temperatures – information that will improve the accuracy of climate models.

Rainfall modeling in Africa (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands)
In Africa, agriculture relies heavily on localized rainfall, which is difficult to predict. In collaboration with the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory, researchers will simulate rainfall on the continent – information that could help farmers be more resilient, among other weather and hydrology applications.

Additionally, what makes these projects unique is that anyone with a computer will be able to personally contribute to accelerating the work by joining IBM’s World Community Grid – which enables volunteers to run virtual experiments on their devices on behalf of the three research teams, enabling cutting edge research at a scale and depth that would otherwise be very difficult or impossible to do. World Community Grid’s network of over 700,000 volunteers have already powered important environmental discoveries in clean energy and clean water.

We need your help to power the virtual research experiments that will accelerate these projects. Join us today at climate.worldcommunitygrid.org.

Together, we can accelerate research that will help us all weather the impacts of climate change on our world.

Jennifer Ryan Crozier is President of the IBM Foundation and Vice President of IBM Corporate Citizenship.

Related:

Announcing Three Winning Climate Change Projects

President, IBM Foundation and Vice President, IBM Corporate Citizenship

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