Drones and Artificial Intelligence to tackle the impact of extreme wind phenomena on the Valencian coast

A team from the Centre for Research on Desertification (CIDE, UV/CSIC/GVA) and the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) of the University of Valencia is launching a new service for monitoring and estimating the wind on the Valencian coast, through an innovative technology based on unmanned aerial vehicles and application of artificial intelligence. WIND-COAST, as the project is called, is part of the ThinkinAzul initiative of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

WIND-COAST is a mixed project of the CSIC and the University of Valencia aimed at developing a new service for monitoring and estimating the wind on the Valencian coast, which will combine massive wind data with the implementation of an innovative technology based on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

On the one hand, the initiative contemplates the development of the so-called Meteodron, a low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle designed in collaboration with the University of Auckland and the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, "capable of obtaining fields of wind with greater spatial resolution compared to the observations of the network of meteorological stations on the Valencian coast", according to the main researcher César Azorín (CIDE, CSIC-UV-GVA).

On the other hand, these new wind observations will be treated by AI. "The development of AI tools gives us the opportunity to establish complex relationships between physical variables, reconstruct incomplete data and explore early warning mechanisms against risks and threats on the coast associated with extreme wind events", explains Verónica Nieves, CIDEGENT distinguished researcher at the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) of the University of Valencia and second IP of the project. This integrative approach will improve the monitoring and prediction of extreme wind speed episodes in the coastal zone, which have a significant impact on ecosystems and aquaculture.

César Azorín Molina is a Senior Scientist at CIDE, from where he directs the "Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Laboratory" ( CLIMATOC-LAB ). The interest of this group focuses on regional and/or global climate variability and recent and future climate changes, with special emphasis on wind and extremes.

Verónica Nieves is a CIDEGENT distinguished researcher at the IPL, from where she directs the group "Artificial Intelligence for Oceans" ( AI4OCEANS ) at the University of Valencia. Her team aims, among other things, to develop the next generation of advanced algorithms to assess the effects of climate change on the oceans, as well as their warming and influence on the development of severe storms on a warmer planet.

The ThinkinAzul initiative brings together research teams from five autonomous communities - Andalusia, Cantabria, the Valencian Community, Galicia and the Region of Murcia - forms part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and has a budget of 50 million euros, 10 of which have been awarded to projects in the Valencian Community, which are co-financed by the Valencian Government and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and coordinated by the Aquaculture Institute of Torre de la Sal and the University of Alicante.

ThinkinAzul - or Marine Sciences program - is one of the first four complementary plans of the aforementioned Recovery Plan, designed to strengthen the capacities of the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation System, and designed by the Ministry in line with European objectives cooperation and coordination of R&D&i policies between administrations. Biotechnology applied to Health, Quantum Communication, Green Energy and Hydrogen, Food and Agriculture, Astrophysics and High Energy Physics, Advanced Materials and Biodiversity complete the set of areas of action, integrated into the State Research Plan (2021-2023) and the Spanish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2021-2027.