Use of Non-Traditional Observations in Weather
We have two projects in this area , using smartphone pressures and
unmanned weather-observing sailboats.
The smartphone project has been going on for roughly ten
years. Many smartphones have surprisingly good pressure
sensors and such pressures are collected by several apps.
Currently, we are working with weather.com, who app is
collecting millions of pressures each day. Our research has
examined how to quality control smartphone pressure observations,
and considerable progress has been made using machine
learning. We are also using these pressure in ensemble-based
data assimilation systems to demonstrate that such observations
can actually improve forecasts.
Smartphone Pressure Observations Over One Day Across the U.S.
A more recent project is the use of unmanned sailboats, that are
constructed by a company called Saildrone. Such
saildrones are unmanned sailboats that can collect a wide range of
atmospheric and ocean information, sending it back in real-time
through satellites. Currently, we are working on a project
that has put a line of saildrones off the U.S. West coast, with
the hope of improving U.S. weather prediction.