Smart devices

Smartphone Sensors Could Predict the Weather

Image source: Jamie Street for Unsplash

Atmospheric scientists are constantly looking for new ways of trying to predict the weather.

An atmospheric change in one place can have profound effects in another part of the world and it’s difficult for researchers working in one region to get all the information they need to make correct predictions.

Dr. Noam David from The Institute of Industrial Science of The University of Tokyo, Japan has come up with a new way of gathering atmospheric data worldwide by using smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Specialized tools designed to collect weather data that are being used at the moment are expensive and rare. Instruments like remote sensing systems and ground-level tools which are highly accurate but only cover a small geographic area and satellites which can gather data about large areas but lack precision can use some help from simple devices like smartphones to have better coverage.

Dr. Noam David bets on IoT devices, that are so common nowadays on creating an informal network of sensors. For example, David suggests CCTV cameras could be used to monitor fine particles in the atmosphere.

Another creative idea would be using car windscreen wipers to measure the intensity of rainfall. Modern cars record data about everything, the speed of wipers could be useful in this case.

Smartphones could also be a good weather instrument as they can collect data like air temperature, atmospheric pressure, and atmospheric tides. Users could then upload the data on a centralized platform for scientists to use, even from remote locations where traditional instruments are not available. Not only is this a cheap alternative of gathering atmospheric information but would also bring awareness and engagement of the public on weather science topics.

This system brought by Dr. Noam Davind could be a huge step in helping earlier detection of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or wildfires and also give the general public a better understanding of how climate change is affecting our planet’s atmosphere.

The study is published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

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