Meteorology has benefited extensively from technology over the years. Now, IoT is ushering in a new era that promises even more profound improvements.
Although weather forecasting has existed for millennia, the methods have only advanced significantly in recent decades. Thanks to digital instrumentation, larger data sets, and increasingly powerful computers, modern-day weather satellites and stations can track and predict the weather with remarkable accuracy.
However, as technology rapidly advances in other sectors, parties that rely on accurate weather forecasts are demanding even greater improvements. For many, it is no longer enough to know how the weather will be in the future. They also want insights into how weather changes will affect their lives and operations. For example, beyond knowing it will snow tomorrow, people and businesses want to know how much snow to expect, which areas will be hit the hardest, and which parts of the roads will be extensively covered with ice.
This rising demand for more succinct weather predictions calls for more advanced forecasting technologies. The Internet of Things fits right into this equation, thanks to its ability to connect numerous different smart objects.
Read on for a look into how the Internet of Things can make weather forecasting more reliable and the impact IoT-fueled improvements will have on some key weather-reliant processes.
How Can IoT Enhance Weather Forecasting?
The Internet of Things enables meteorologists to collect and aggregate data from disparate sources so they can paint more complete pictures of weather changes and their impact. Here are five ways IoT solutions can improve weather forecasting.
1. A sensor-filled data collection network
Initial weather instruments were typically one-off devices in fixed locations, limited to measuring atmospheric conditions within their purviews. Today, thanks to IoT, meteorologists now have access to a near-limitless pool of weather data. A wide range of sensor-equipped objects, from satellites and drones to balloon-mounted sensors and even vehicles with weather detection devices, are constantly collecting information.
A broad network of devices relaying information to the same server allows meteorologists to develop highly targeted forecasts rather than merely extrapolating data from larger samples. That way, they can zero in on areas impacted by adverse weather and provide accurate advice.
2. Real-time weather updates
In conventional setups, official weather forecasts can take hours, or even days, to reach people who need them in real-time. As a result, news of adverse weather conditions often gets to the affected parties after the impact has already started.
IoT allows meteorologists to get data almost instantaneously, eliminating the long lag times associated with manual data collection and transfer. Consequently, they can gauge weather situations better and issue more timely, accurate forecasts.
IoT's widespread interconnectedness also means it can deliver updates across various end-user devices, improving the chances of people receiving critical warnings in time.
3. More detailed forecasting
Weather predictions built from incomplete data sets are less reliable than those that include detailed and comprehensive data. Thanks to IoT's ability to gather information from disparate sources in real-time, meteorologists can process large amounts of data with greater ease.
When combined with the right analytics tools, this trove of information can provide a reliable, holistic view of what is happening throughout the entire affected region, not just within fixed sampling points.
4. Weather condition reaction tracking
The interconnectedness of IoT networks makes them highly effective at tracking how people respond to specific adverse weather conditions globally. Data from smart objects on the ground or in space can give meteorologists real-time insights into how different portions of a continent or even the entire planet are affected by a given weather event.
With these insights, meteorologists can create more accurate forecasts for future weather events and design better public safety campaigns and emergency response plans. They can also better anticipate weather-related business risks, giving companies more time to prepare for the consequences.
5. Automated alerts and warnings
IoT's synched networks can automatically alert people in affected regions that adverse weather is imminent. Today, meteorologists use a variety of channels – from social media posts and text messages to dedicated apps and announcements on public address systems – to get their notifications across.
IoT sensors that can issue automatic alerts allow meteorologists to reach people via multiple channels, increasing the chances of recipients getting crucial weather updates before the impact occurs.
IoT's Impact on Weather-dependent Activities
The Internet of Things has the potential not just to improve meteorology and public safety but also numerous weather-dependent activities, including shipping operations, agriculture and mining, construction, and aviation.
- Shipping: Accurate forecasts help protect cargo shipments from disruptions due to adverse conditions such as strong winds or extreme temperatures that can slow down or completely derail delivery schedules.
- Agriculture: IoT sensors that transmit real-time updates of environmental conditions can help farmers better manage their crops. For example, by measuring soil moisture levels in the field, IoT allows farmers to determine when and how much water to apply without overwatering their fields or risking undernourishment.
- Mining: IoT's ability to provide real-time data on climatic changes improves miners' ability to predict when they need to take precautionary measures like pulling back workers or shutting down operations. That way, they can minimize the risks that weather conditions pose for their safety and productivity.
- Construction: IoT sensors embedded in construction materials can alert builders about environmental factors that could compromise building projects. For instance, if an object is incapable of withstanding high winds or intense rainfall, engineers can detect the weakness on time and allocate additional resources as needed.
- Aviation: Flights headed for areas facing adverse weather must factor in predicted wind speeds and other conditions to avoid landing or crashing. IoT lets airlines make smarter travel decisions faster, which helps them accommodate travelers more efficiently and prevent delays.
The Future of IoT in Weather Monitoring
Weather forecasting technology has made dramatic progress in recent years. What started as a purely observational discipline with no ability to predict weather conditions based on objective data has evolved into a field where forecasts are routinely accurate within 10% of the recorded values.
However, IoT-powered weather forecasting promises to go one step further. With more data points in an increasingly interconnected world, meteorologists can create highly detailed and localized forecasts, making it possible to predict weather conditions with greater accuracy than ever before.
IoT's potential is immense, and its implementation will go a long way toward improving people's lives. While IoT may take some time to become the standard in meteorology, the groundwork has been laid, and the industry is ripe for disruption.
is eager to see how the Internet of Things will shape weather forecasting in the coming years. If you are invested in predicting weather patterns, create your free IoT2Market account
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