We have talked about smart cities and how sensors are being employed in order to gain more information in real time to improve certain aspects of the city. Similar approach can be employed for myriad of other purposes, take for instance, weather forecasting. Weather forecasting has seen quite some advancement over the course of years but even now we are stuck with the weather balloons. Time for a change, don’t you think?
The new approach that we are going to talk about employs airplanes as flying weather stations. Why does it make a better system than those weather balloons is quite simple; the National Weather Service collects data twice from 69 of these balloons which are located around the USA, now compare the data stream that would be generated from these airliners flying across the country 24/7. Instant enhancement in data volume and quality will result in more accurate and precise weather forecasting.
As of now, the Southwest Airlines has incorporated this system to 87 of its Boeing 737 fleet whereas, UPS incorporated sensors on 25 of its jets. These jets now transmit data in real time directly to the National Weather Service. The NWS doesn’t rely on the 138 readings per day alone. Instead, it has a data bank of 50,000 reports coming in 24 hours from different parts of the country.
Southwest while commending the new system stated that last November, in Dallas, the company was able to fly during an ice storm because of the more reliable and accurate data being available whereas other airlines had to ground their fleets owing to limited information that was available. The system, once expanded, will save money and time and shall also reduce the flight delays while imparting safety to flying. American Airlines is planning to install humidity sensors from Panasonic to 225 of their planes.
The system sure is impressive and quite capable of doing what it claims, we hope that more and more airlines will adapt to this system and help with the flow of information.