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Smartphone Batteries Can Help Predict the Weather

Smartphone Batteries Can Help Predict the Weather

Image source: www.agu.org

Most smartphone owners are well acquainted with using their device to check the weather forecast, but now those same devices could also be used to help to make those weather predictions.

The discovery of a correlation between the temperature of the battery in a smartphone and the actual local temperature has led to the development of a method for using the built-in temperature sensors to add to crowdsourced weather data.

An Android app called OpenSignal, which has about 700,000 users, collects hundreds of thousands of temperature readings from across the globe, which allowed researchers to compare that data with the daily average temperature in eight major cities. According to the team that is working on the project, they were able to calculate the actual air temperature within an average of 1.5 degrees C by using the data from the phones, and they believe that with more users, the more accurate they should be able to get.

According to the American Geophysical Union, by crowdsourcing large amounts of data on battery temperatures, gaps in weather station coverage can be filled, or the data can be used to fine-tune hyper-local forecasts, or to serve as an additional reference point for weather predictions.

“The ultimate end is to be able to do things we’ve never been able to do before in meteorology and give those really short-term and localized predictions. In London you can go from bright and sunny to cloudy in just a matter of minutes. We’d hope someone would be able to decide when to leave their office to get the best weather for their lunch break.” – James Robinson, co-founder of OpenSignal

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