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Vietnam Exploring AI Use in Meteorology Sector

The government has emphasised the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of hydrometeorology at a virtual conference held by the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration (VNMHA).

Hoang Duc Cuong, the Deputy General Director of the VNMHA, which is run under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that the sector, for the past decade, has applied information technology, digital technology, and AI, and that AI plays a very important role in its activities.

The sector should collect and standardise information and data to serve as a basis for applying Industry 4.0 technology like big data and AI to make precise forecasts, an industry expert from the state-run Viettel Solutions of the Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group noted. This requires the consolidation of data from various sources into a centralised database system.

The sector should build a data architecture matching its specific features, use big data technology for handling monitoring and specialised data, and coordinate with international experts and organisations such as the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in AI research and application.

Pham Hoang Hung, the Deputy Director of the VNMHA’s forecasting management department, outlined several challenges in the application of AI. For example, the sector’s database is inadequate in terms of size and the present tools are not able to analyse, assess, organise, and standardise data. A shortage of personnel for AI applications and infrastructure upgrades also needs attention.

During the seminar, attendees deliberated on strategies to facilitate research and implementation of AI in the field of hydrometeorology, with a particular focus on information and data management. They also gained valuable insights and perspectives from experts in this area.

Last year, Cuong claimed that the trend of AI applications created positive results in the field of hydrometeorology. It has helped improve the efficiency of weather forecasting. The VNMHA has built a shared digital platform for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, including a data integration system based on big data, especially the AI application in identification to solve specific problems for hydrometeorological monitoring and forecasting, he said.

The department is researching AI applications in storm forecasting, heavy rain quantification and flood surge prediction. Cuong affirmed that AI has been applied widely and replaced many manual jobs, saved labour, and limited some human errors.

He cited the COVID-19 social distancing period in July 2021 as an example. During this time, hydrometeorological officers were unable to come to the office for a significant portion of it. To overcome this challenge, they had to utilise information technology, including AI, to monitor rainfall and flood levels and successfully carry out their duties. With the help of AI, the weather prediction and monitoring tasks were accomplished despite the social distancing measures.

Two years ago, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh issued the National Strategy on Research, Development and Application of Artificial Intelligence towards 2030. It intended to make AI a spearhead technology of the country and help it become a leader in AI research, development, and application.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has included AI as a key area of focus in its digital transformation programme. Its goal is to elevate Vietnam’s meteorology and hydrology industry to the advanced level of Asia by 2030.

The VNMHA has explored the potential of AI for forecasting dangerous weather conditions and disasters. Moving forward, their objective is to develop a hydrometeorological virtual assistant system that can provide weather information to users automatically.

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