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Communications Science

New Technology Uses Cellular Towers For Super-Accurate Weather Measurements 42

Iddo Genuth (903542) writes "Israeli scientists from the Tel Aviv University perfected a method for using cell phone service towers' microwave emitters to measure rain and snow and even (for the first time ) detect fog with great accuracy over vast areas in real time. The research team members have analyzed endless amounts of raw cellular data and developed more accurate ways to measure meteorological information and added more parameters that they can now measure using their growing database. When combined with existing meteorological monitoring technologies such as radars and local ground based weather stations, the results show unprecedented level of accuracy that can give better and further weather forecast as well as special warnings about upcoming floods, fog and hail which can affect both people and crop production."
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New Technology Uses Cellular Towers For Super-Accurate Weather Measurements

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  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @07:33PM (#47440181)

    Too bad the post office isn't as efficient as the weather service.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      +1 hoverboards don't work on water.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Unless you have POWAH! ...you bojo.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:42AM (#47441357)

      Too bad the post office isn't as efficient as the weather service.

      Actually, the post office is remarkably efficient, given the volumes of mail they carry. USPS alone, in one day carries more than FedEx annually, and in 3, more than UPS. (Take that, late Christmas 2013 presents).

      They have to be efficient otherwise the whole system breaks down in short order. And by law of big numbers, of course, they'll run into problems. It ain't nice when it happens via the mail, but FedEx and UPS can be completely hopeless when it's their package. (You'd think with all that tracking information they could easily find a missing or lost package, but no. If a package gets scanned out but not scanned in, you're SOL).

      • Actually, the post office is remarkably efficient, given the volumes of mail they carry.

        But their bad reputation also works well for providing excuses.

        "What do you mean you didn't get that check? I mailed it a week ago! Damn post office..."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In a related story, the NSA has received generous funding to start producing detailed weather forecasts.
  • What about UV index or temperature or humidity? I meant if they arent measured on the same spot as everything else then the usefulness of those will suffer
  • The only differences being that with cell towers, the receivers and transmitters are controlled by two independent parties and the signal itself was not intended for that particular purpose.

    You know exactly where the tower is, you can easily reconstruct the RF signal as-transmitted by receiving the bitstream yourself and calculating the original signal as-sent. All that is left to do is compute the correlation between measured signals across your receiver network and weather along the receiver-transmitter p

  • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @12:52AM (#47441075)

    Turns out that it's easy to measure the weather with a cell phone tower.

    • If cell phone tower casts a shadow, the sun is shining.
    • If tower is wet, it is raining.
    • If tower is white, it is snowing
    • If tower is swaying back and forth, there is a high wind.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're missing a few. A more extensive list here:

  • Mositure and temprature variations causes bending of GPS wavepaths and small delays. Geophysicists ave been studying the "noise" in large scale GPS data to measure atmospheric conditions. Right now this mostly from dedicated high frequency tectonics GPS stations like Earthscope. There could be a way to "crowdsource" smartphone users for more data.
  • I wonder if they could extend and improve their "iron dome" with this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]

    Would be great if they could knock all the Palestinian missiles out of the air instead of bombing the sh*t out of the lauch sites (which the launchers tend to put in urban areas).

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle