The Future of Forecasting

Four ways that weather prediction is changing.

Phones as weather stations

An app called WeatherSignal essentially hacks the growing number of sensors that exist in Android phones—temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure—to crowdsource information. It could point toward a new form of weather-data collection.

Satellites with superpowers

In 2016, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will launch the most advanced weather satellite yet. The GOES-R will be able to scan multiple areas of the earth and monitor events as they happen. This will likely lead to improvements such as real-time turbulence prediction for pilots.

GOES-RImage courtesy of NOAA/NASA

Drones predict tornadoes

Researchers have long attempted to anticipate tornado formation, but it's hard to gather data without getting too close. The University of Colorado and Oklahoma State University are now developing drones with sensors that could be flown into a twister.

Tempest UASImage courtesy of University of Colorado

Air-pollution Monitoring

Through an ongoing project called MACC-II, the European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts has developed the ability to forecast atmospheric composition, including greenhouse gases and aerosols. The technology could also help predict and combat wildfires. It's expected to go live in 2014.


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[Photo by Camille Seaman]

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