AI project on 14 Irish test sites aims to inform carbon reduction policy


The €5 million Terrain-AI project is being led by 50 researchers based in Maynooth University and funded by Microsoft Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland and its aim is to improve understanding of the impact of human activity on land use, and how it relates to climate change, with the ultimate aim of reducing global carbon levels by sharing the insights and models developed with other countries.

The research will initially focus 14 test sites in Ireland, ranging from farmland and bogs to urban areas and Government departments and State agencies including Teagasc, the EPA and Met Éireann will be contributing to the research along with scientists at TCD, UCD, DCU and UL, while indigenous data companies will also play their part.

Vast amounts of data will be processed using artificial intelligence (AI) models to inform more effective and sustainable management practices, leading to significant carbon reduction. Data will be captured from satellites, airborne platforms and in-field instruments, notably to test soil. They will be monitoring with great precision “proxies for carbon” in the air, on land surfaces; notably biomass in the form of trees, grass and hedgerows, and below the surface in soils.

According to Prof Ray O’Neill, the Terrain-AI project will collect high-quality data, extract verifiable information and generate the facts to enable society make informed decisions about changing how we manage our climate and environment.

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