Advances In Weather Forecasting

February 10, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

As the East Coast of the United States recovers from “Nemo” the importance of weather forecasting has once again become clear. The Economist looked at an elegant solution to an age-old problem: measuring rainfall. Highlights include:

  • Rainfall is now measured either through satellites – that lack detail – or old fashion rain collection gauges – that have detail but don’t cover much land.
  • Rain can degrade cell phone reception and researchers have now come up with a system that uses cellphone signals to determine the amount of rainfall in an area.
  • This provides the detail of rain gauges with the wide coverage of satellites – since most regions have cell phone reception.
  • This information can also be measured in realtime unlike both satellites and gauges.
  • There are areas without cell phone coverage and perhaps in the future weather forecasters will help build cell stations in those areas to better measure weather data and provide cell phone reception to the people who live there.
  • The technology has limitations: it’s not that great at measuring snow or hail.

Read more about the technology, its limitations, and test runs over here.

Source: The Economist