Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Smartphones, tablets help UW researchers improve storm forecasts
by Hannah Hickey for UW News
Seattle WA (SPX) Feb 08, 2013


illustration only

The next advance in weather forecasting may not come from a new satellite or supercomputer, but from a device in your pocket. University of Washington atmospheric scientists are using pressure sensors included in the newest smartphones to develop better weather forecasting techniques.

"With this approach we could potentially have tens or hundreds of thousands of additional surface pressure observations, which could significantly improve short-term weather forecasts," said Cliff Mass, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences.

Owners of certain new Android smartphones and tablet computers can now download the PressureNet app, which measures atmospheric pressure and provides the data to UW researchers.

When some smartphone manufacturers recently added pressure sensors, to estimate the phone's elevation and help pinpoint its location, Mass saw an opportunity to enhance weather prediction. In the autumn he approached Cumulonimbus, a Canadian app company that developed a barometer application for smartphones that collects all the data and shares it back with users.

The PressureNet app this week collected about 4,000 observations per hour, with users clustered in the northeastern United States and around some major cities.

"We need more density," Mass said. "Right now it's a matter of getting more people to contribute."

Android devices equipped with pressure sensors include Samsung's Galaxy S3, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note and Nexus 4 smartphones, and the Nexus 10 and Motorola Xoom tablet computers.

Atmospheric pressure is the weight of the air above, and includes information about what is happening as air masses collide. Precise tracking of pressure readings and pressure changes could help weather forecasters to pinpoint exactly where and when a major storm will strike.

Mass is particularly interested in the center of the country, which is prone to severe storms but includes fewer weather observation stations.

"Thunderstorms are one of the areas of weakest skill for forecasting," Mass said. "I think thunderstorms in the middle part of the country could potentially be the biggest positive for this approach. They are relatively small-scale, they develop over a few hours, they can be severe and can affect people significantly."

Tracking storms a few hours out could help people better protect themselves and their property. In the Seattle area, the tool could improve short-term forecasts for wind and rain.

"I think this could be one of the next major revolutions in weather forecasting, really enhancing our ability to forecast at zero to four hours," Mass said.

Cumulonimbus updated the app's privacy settings last week so users could allow access to the data by scientific researchers. Since then, the UW group has been uploading the pressure data each hour and preparing it for use in weather forecasting models. The data will soon be available to all researchers who want to incorporate it in weather-prediction tools.

A project begun in 2010 by Mass and Gregory Hakim, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences, has explored ways to improve weather forecasts by taking advantage of surface pressure measurements. The current network of U.S. weather stations offers about one thousand air-pressure readings. Adding observations collected by small-scale weather networks and hobbyists, the UW team found, improves the forecasts. A weather station in every pocket would offer an unprecedented wealth of data.

A recent blog post by Mass explains more about the UW group's approach. Luke Madaus, a UW graduate student in atmospheric sciences, will load the smartphone data into a weather-forecasting system. At first the tool will use only stationary data points, but eventually it may include data from devices in motion.

Building the system will take a few months, Mass said. By this summer's thunderstorm season he hopes the UW team will be using smartphone data to forecast storms and compare their results against traditional forecasts.

If the technique is successful, the researchers hope to supply it to the National Weather Service and the weather bureaus of other countries.

The technique could be particularly useful, Mass noted, in countries that have little weather-forecasting infrastructure but where smartphones are becoming more common.

The research has been funded by Microsoft Corp. and the National Weather Service.

.


Related Links
University of Washington
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





DISASTER MANAGEMENT
HDT Global Awarded Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicle Contract
Solon OH (SPX) Feb 06, 2013
HDT Global (HDT) has announced that the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) has awarded the company's Expeditionary Systems Group the Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicle (GAARV) contract to produce the HDT Storm Search and Rescue Tactical Vehicles (SRTV). The HDT Storm is an ultra-lightweight, air-deployable tactical vehicle that offers Guardian Angel rescue teams the ... read more


DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Sampling Several Rock Targets

Mapping Mars

Weekend Test on Mars Was Preparation to Drill a Rock

AAS Division For Planetary Sciences Issues Statement On Mars 2020 Program

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Supersonic skydiver even faster than thought

Ahmadinejad says ready to be Iran's first spaceman

Iran's Bio-Capsule Comes Back from Space

A Hero For Humankind: Yuri Gagarin's Spaceflight

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Reshuffle for Tiangong

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
NASA to Send Inflatable Pod to International Space Station

ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Arianespace Launches Six Globalstar Birds Using Starsem Soyuz

Final checkout underway for the Starsem Soyuz launch with Globalstar spacecraft

Zenit Engine Worked Normally

NASA Launches Rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Kepler Data Suggest Earth-size Planets May Be Next Door

Earth-like planets may be closer than thought: study

Are Super-Earths Actually Mini-Neptunes?

Herschel Finds Past-Prime Star May Be Making Planets

DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Light-emitting triangles may have applications in optical technology

Largest prime number to date found

South Korean Satellite Makes First Contact with Ground

Novel materials shake ship scum




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement