Science News

Phone Masts help Meteorologists

Sun, 14th May 2006

Part of the show BSE, Cervical Cancer and Toxoplasmosis

If you are going to predict the weather the first thing you need to know is what the weather is like now, the second thing you have to know is whether your prediction was right so you can improve your model.

One of the hardest things to measure is rainfall, rainfall radar covers large areas but isn't very accurate, and rain guages whilst being very accurate only give you a few points of data. Israeli Researchers from Tel-Aviv University have come up with a new source of data - mobile phone masts. When your phone shows a weak signal both your phone and the mast will crank up their power. Rain gets in the way of mobile signals, so by looking at the power mobile masts need to use, you can find out about the rain in the area. Hagit Messer-Yaron, an electrical engineer found that the data from the mobile masts was much closer to the rain guages than the weather radar, and using this resource wouldn't require any investment in equipment as it is already there.


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