How Google AI helps combat wildfires, floods, and extreme heat

Helping people and cities respond to extreme heat

Extreme heat also impacts public health, and heat-related deaths are on the rise. We launched extreme heat alerts this year so when people search for information on extreme heat, they see details about when a heat wave is predicted to start and end, tips on staying cool and related health concerns to be aware of from the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN). Since launching, we’ve provided information about extreme heat on Search in more than 80 countries.

Cities are also looking for ways to prevent “heat islands,” which are urban areas that experience higher temperatures due to structures like roads and buildings that absorb heat and re-emit it. Our Tree Canopy tool, part of our Environmental Insights Explorer platform, combines AI and aerial imagery to show where shaded areas are in the city, helping cities better understand where to plant more trees to reduce heat. Today, we’re expanding Tree Canopy data to more than 2,000 cities globally. Our goal is to help even more partners and cities access this information and make use of these insights. For example, we recently partnered with American Forests in the U.S. to make our tree canopy data available on their Tree Equity Score tool, ensuring shade in cities is equitably distributed. With this information, American Forests now provides tree canopy data for 260 million people – that’s nearly 80% of the U.S. population.

Another way we’re helping to reduce heat islands is by providing insights about reflective roofs — called “cool roofs”. Our Cool Roofs tool uses AI and aerial imagery to map out the solar reflectivity of cities so urban planners and governments can identify which areas would benefit most from deploying a cool roof solution, such as a white roof. The pilot is live in four cities and will expand to 11 more cities in the coming weeks, including New York, Nashville and Melbourne.

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