Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New airborne GPS technology for weather conditions takes flight

Date:
March 17, 2014
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
GPS technology has broadly advanced science and society’s ability to pinpoint precise information, 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.

“GISMOS” (GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] Instrument System for Multistatic and Occultation Sensing) communicates with satellites to define details of the atmosphere.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California, San Diego

GPS technology has broadly advanced science and society's ability to pinpoint precise information, from driving directions to tracking ground motions during earthquakes. A new technique led by a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego stands to improve weather models and hurricane forecasting by detecting precise conditions in the atmosphere through a new GPS system aboard airplanes.

Related Articles


The first demonstration of the technique, detailed in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), is pushing the project's leaders toward 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 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 regions near storms. The new system, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography geophysicist Jennifer Haase and her colleagues, captures detailed meteorological readings at different elevations at targeted areas of interest, such as over the Atlantic Ocean in regions where hurricanes might develop.

"This field campaign demonstrated the potential for creating an entirely new operational atmospheric observing system for precise moisture profiling from commercial aircraft," said Haase, an associate researcher with the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Physics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) at Scripps. "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."

"These are exciting results, especially given the complications involved in working from an airplane," says Eric DeWeaver, program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research. "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."

The GRL 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 measurements 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 are favorable for hurricane development.

Paytsar Muradyan, who recently received a Ph.D. from Purdue University in atmospheric sciences, started working with Haase in 2007 as a graduate student during the formative stages of GISMOS's design and development. She eventually flew with the group in the 2010 campaign and took away a wealth of experience from the demands of the project.

"It was a lot of responsibility but certainly rewarding to work with a group of world-known scientists in an interdisciplinary project," said Muradyan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. S. Haase, B. J. Murphy, P. Muradyan, F. G. Nievinski, K. M. Larson, J. L. Garrison, K.-N. Wang. First results from an airborne GPS radio occultation system for atmospheric profiling. Geophysical Research Letters, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058681

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "New airborne GPS technology for weather conditions takes flight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170646.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2014, March 17). New airborne GPS technology for weather conditions takes flight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170646.htm
University of California, San Diego. "New airborne GPS technology for weather conditions takes flight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140317170646.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins