First demonstration captures key meteorological data, offers potential of better hurricane forecasting
GPS technology has broadly advanced science and society’s ability to pinpoint locations and motion, from driving directions to tracking ground motions during earthquakes. A new technique stands to improve weather models and hurricane forecasting by detecting precise conditions in the atmosphere through a new GPS system aboard airplanes.
A new GPS system aboard airplanes could improve weather models and hurricane forecasting by detecting precise conditions in the atmosphere. “GISMOS” (GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] Instrument System for Multistatic and Occultation Sensing) communicates with satellites to define details of the atmosphere.
Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The first demonstration of the technique, reported this month in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters, is bringing the project’s leaders closer to a goal of broadly implementing the technology in the near future on commercial aircraft.
Current measurement systems that use GPS satellite signals as a source to probe the atmosphere rely on GPS receivers that are fixed to the ground and can’t measure over the ocean, or they rely on GPS receivers that are also on satellites that are expensive to launch and only occasionally measure in the regions near storms.
The new system, used by geophysicist Jennifer Haase of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., and her colleagues, captures detailed meteorological readings at different elevations in targeted areas of interest, such as where hurricanes might develop over the Atlantic Ocean.
“This field campaign demonstrated the potential for creating an entirely new operational atmospheric observing system for precise moisture profiling from commercial aircraft,” said Haase. “Having dense, detailed information about the vertical moisture distribution close to the storms is an important advancement, so if you put this information into a weather model it will actually have an impact and improve the forecast.”
“Satellite-based measurements are now regularly used for weather forecasting and have a big impact, but airplanes can go beyond satellites in making observations that are targeted right where you want them,” noted Eric DeWeaver, program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research.
The paper details a 2010 flight campaign aboard NSF aircraft and subsequent data analysis that demonstrated for the first time that atmospheric information could be captured by an airborne GPS device. The instrumentation, which the scientists labeled “GISMOS” (GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] Instrument System for Multistatic and Occultation Sensing), increased the number of atmospheric profiles for studying the evolution of tropical storms by more than 50 percent.
“We’re looking at how moisture evolves so when we see tropical waves moving across the Atlantic, we can learn more about which one is going to turn into a hurricane,” said Haase. “So being able to look at what happens in these events at the early stages will give us a lot longer lead time for hurricane warnings.”
“This is another case where the effective use of GPS has the potential to improve the forecast and therefore save lives,” said Richard Anthes, president emeritus of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which currently runs the satellite based GPS measurement system called COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate).
While the current GISMOS design occupies a refrigerator’s worth of space, Haase and her colleagues are working to miniaturize the technology to shoe box size. From there, the system can more feasibly fit onto commercial aircraft, with hundreds of daily flights and a potential flood of new atmospheric data to greatly improve hurricane forecasting and weather models.
The technology also could improve interpretation of long-term climate models by advancing scientists’ understanding of factors such as the moisture conditions that favor hurricane development.
“First results from an airborne GPS radio occultation system for atmospheric profiling”
J. S. Haase: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA;
B. J. Murphy and P. Muradyan: Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;
F. G. Nievinski: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Presidente Prudente, Brazil;
K. M. Larson: Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA;
J. L. Garrison and K.-N. Wang: Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.
Contact information for the authors:
Jennifer Haase, +1 (858) 534-8771, firstname.lastname@example.org
+1 (202) 777-7524
Mario Aguilera or Robert Monroe
+1 (858) 534-3624
Peter Weiss | American Geophysical Union
The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide
10.02.2016 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
Unusual cold spell in the stratosphere creates conditions for severe ozone depletion in the Arctic
10.02.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.
Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
10.02.2016 | Life Sciences
10.02.2016 | Earth Sciences
10.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy