Weather predictions rely on sensors on the ground that report data, such as barometric pressure, which can help scientists determine when the weather is about to change. These sensors are also used to help local forecasters predict the weather.
During the last five
years, the number of pressure sensors in the world has exploded,
because Smartphone manufacturers have started putting them in Smartphones.
The purpose is to help determine a device’s altitude for
location tracking. Samsung’s Galaxy Smartphones have barometers
built-in since 2011, and the feature came to Apple’s iPhone
Now, many of the almost
three billion Smartphones in the world have one. Developers and
weather forecasters have been talking about using smartphone
sensors for years, but the phone operating systems do not make
available the pressure readings taken by their Smartphones.
Recently, a popular
weather app called Dark Sky introduced an opt-in feature that
automatically takes barometric pressure readings. It gets more
than a million pressure sensor reports a day.
Dark Sky has several
different ways to inform about important weather conditions in
the exact spot you are standing with your phone. Precise
down-to-the-minute notifications alerts when rain or snow is
about to start. Severe weather alerts inform of dangerous
conditions, and more. It even has detailed maps. LINK
Another opt-in app,
WeatherSignal, takes automatic readings and sends data to a
number of academic partners for processing. Organizers are
hoping for a commercial piece in the near future.
It may be time we
begin to help the weathermen, rather than curse their