Freak storms, flash floods, melting glaciers have sensitized us to the far reaching effects of climate change. Thus, our dependence on Weather reports has increased manifold. Even though tremendous progress has been made in the field of weather forecasting, we still suffer from lack of data to make accurate hyperlocal models.
In the meanwhile, tremendous progress has been made in smartphone sensors. For ex, the Samsung Galaxy S4 can collect pressure, light intensity, magnetic flux and humidity data. Even the most sensor-deprived Android phone can calculate temperature data by measuring relative differences in battery heat. The WeatherSignal app from Open Signal attempts to harness these capabilities of smartphones and crowdsource weather collection data .
Over the past year, the app has amassed over 270,000 downloads. Readings from these smartphone sensors helps create an ever-updating look at the pressure changes in your area. The data is also being sent off to climatologists, such as the University of Washington’s Cliff Mass, who are exploring ways of incorporating crowdsourced smartphone readings into future meteorology models.This app will have far reaching impact to those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. It will help prevent tragedies and loss of life.