ClearSky: a breath of air for a grim future

Source: Deep Learning on Medium

ClearSky: a breath of air for a grim future Week 1

Climate change has a better suited name; climate crisis. Climate change and it’s reason being the human activity was first suspected in the 19th century with the identification of the greenhouse effect, and the observation of change in paleoclimate from natural reasons. While this came to public attention much later in a 1988 New York Times article which was the frontpage of the issue. It talked about accumulation of greenhouse gasses from mainly energy producing proccesses.

Fossil fuels (coal,oil etc.) are decomposed remains of early life of earth. There were no bacteria to break down the carbon in the remains so it didn’t degrade and over time by the pressure of the earth above were transformed into the fossil fuels we today use in pretty much every human endevaour. The by product CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gasses as the name suggests mainly block the reflection of sun beams back into the space. This entraps the radiated heat of the sun in our atmosphere and this is the main reason of the average temperature increase.

As temperatures increase, many effects are expected at varying degrees by different climate models but nearly all of the scientific data agree: it does not spell out great things for humanity. Some of the expected changes are:

  • Delicate ecosystems thrown out of balance with many species unable to adapt to such rapid change in enviroment
  • “ At 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, 6 percent of the report’s studied insects, 8 percent of plants and 4 percent of vertebrates will see their climatically determined geographic range reduced by more than half (map highlights areas where monarch butterfly populations are affected). At 2 degrees Celsius warming, those numbers jump to 18 percent, 16 percent and 8 percent, respectively.” -NASA
  • Water available going down in most of the world, and even worse mainly in places where water infrastructure is already lacking for the basic human uses.
  • Natural catastrophic events tied to climate such as: hurricanes, lightning storms, flash floods AND FINALLY our topic of investigation: wildfires.

One of the main ways of fighting climate change is protection and plantation of forests.


While growing the main way of producing energy for trees are reduction of CO2 into O2. Secreting O2 and trapping carbon back into theirselves they fight on both fronts of the effects of climate change. Lowering greenhouse gasses, and by secreting O2 the main source of energy for nearly all life above the microscale. Putting a stopping point to the downward spiral, feedback loop of climate crisis.

They are threatened mainly by deforestation done by the human industry and wildfires. As temperatures increase;lightning storms increase in intensity which by going acres is a much more dangerous starting point.

Drought increases and the fires ignite much more early and when they ignite spread much faster and to a wider area.

What do we propose?

By satellite imagery available to public, getting 2 images in a 24 hour period we are able to observe the health of the vegetation, density of the forest,geographical situation at hand and implicit features that will be learned by a CNN over these images.

Available to us are fire perimeters by date provided by geomac which will be used to get an accurate spread of the fire in the ground to feed into the cnn and a 24 hour later perimeter to use as the ground truth.

Climate data provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be augmented into the cnn output with features such as: (atmospheric pressure, temperature, dew point(the temperature below which water droplets begin to condense and dew can form), wind direction, wind speed, precipitation, and relative humidity for each fire location) and will then be connected by a dense layer to an output of the form 2d data, where each output will correspond to a likelihood of the pixel point on fire in the next 24 hour period.

This easily visuable data of the form will be then without much training be presented to the interested authorities to assess the situation and decide on a response to the emergency.

We hope as an outcome much quicker and informed response to these criseses and as a result reduction of the damage done to our future.

Ode to clearer skies

We are Deniz Zağlı and Ahmet Şahin Yener, undergraduate students from Hacettepe University currently under supervision of Aykut Erdem, Burçak Asal.