Researchers have developed a new app that lets users send pressure measurements to scientists which may help predict storms.
The app, called PressureNet, takes advantage of the latest sensor to show up in smart devices.
of the latest mobile devices now take atmospheric pressure measurements
to determine elevation, in an effort to more precisely track location,
the 'TechNewsDaily' reported.
At the same time, the pressure in an
area can inform meteorologists about what's happening with the air
masses in that location and help them forecast storms that will arrive
over the next few hours.
Atmospheric scientists at the University
of Washington in Seattle are trying to develop a way to use these device
gathered measurements for short-term storm forecasts.
take some time for research before the scientists are able to test
whether their method works. If it does, smartphone and tablet owners
could help collect far more data than are now available from federally
managed weather stations in the US.
"We could potentially have
tens or hundreds of thousands of additional surface pressure
observations, which could significantly improve short-term weather
forecasts," Cliff Mass, who is leading the weather-predicting effort,
said in a statement.
The UW team is now gathering about 4,000 data points an hour, the report said.
versions of the app have been around since 2011, but its developers at
the Canada-based Cumulonimbus just updated it in January so that users
may share their data anonymously with Mass and colleagues.
are one of the areas of weakest skill for forecasting. I think
thunderstorms in the middle part of the country could potentially be the
biggest positive for this approach," he said.
Researchers hope to compare their smartphone- and tablet-aided forecasts to traditional predictions.