Weather Nowcasting Using Environmental Sensors Integrated to the Mobile

Weather Nowcasting Using Environmental Sensors Integrated to the Mobile

K.G. Srinivasa (Srinivasa K GM S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India), Harsha R (Harsha RM S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India), Kumar N. Sunil (Sunil Kumar NM S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India), Arhatha B (Arhatha BM S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India), S.C. Abhishek (Abhishek S CR V College of Engineering, India), Raddi C.S. Harish (Harish Raddi C SM S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India) and Kumar M. Anil (Anil Kumar MM S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0080-5.ch007
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With the vagaries of nature being unpredictable, it’s now more important to have access to weather forecast for short periods of time. Many businesses, including those in agriculture and the fishing industry, depend on an hourly update of the weather. The access to such weather nowcasting data has, until now, been through traditional media like the television, radio, et cetera, while new media of communication such as mobile devices, have been largely unexplored. The advancement in MEMS (Micro Electrical Mechanical System) technology has now brought forth various sensors that are miniaturized and can be integrated or embedded into various other systems used presently. Environmental sensors that measure weather parameters are miniaturized to fit the size of a mobile. The system aims to integrate these sensors along with a mobile device so as to provide the capability of data measurement to the vast population that use mobile devices and thus create regional grid networks. The system aims to use the mobile for updating weather parameters as well to be the focal point of communication of the weather nowcasting information. As a result, the mobile device would provide targeted distribution of the weather information, which is more advantageous than the traditional means of mass distribution of information; also, as mobile technology acts as a focal point of gathering weather related parameters, it provides a twofold advantage for setting up a low cost, region specific weather monitoring system.
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Weather forecasting is a technology used to predict the atmospheric state for a future time for a given location. Prior to nineteenth century informal weather prediction methods were common which were succeeded by formal methodologies. Weather forecasts are made by collecting quantitative data about the current state of the atmosphere and using scientific understanding of atmospheric processes to project how the atmosphere will evolve.

Nowcasting comprises the detailed description of the current weather along with forecasts obtained by extrapolation for a period of 0 to 6 hours ahead. In this time range it is possible to forecast small features such as individual storms with reasonable accuracy. A forecaster using the latest radar, satellite and observational data is able to make analysis of the small-scale features present in a small area such as a city and make an accurate forecast for the following few hours. It is, therefore, a powerful tool in warning the public of hazardous, high-impact weather including tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and tornadoes which cause flash floods, lightning strikes and destructive winds. In broad terms, nowcasting contributes to the:

  • 1.

    reduction of fatalities and injuries due to weather hazards

  • 2.

    reduction of private, public, and industrial, property damage

  • 3.

    Improved efficiency and savings for industry, transportation and agriculture.

Over the years there have been several methods of data aggregation and corresponding models to forecast weather. Most of them rely heavily on manual observatories and also satellite imagery (Nehrkorn et al., 1993). In a country like India where investment on manual or automatic weather observatories is a costly investment option there is a need for an alternate method of aggregation of weather parameters.

The most widely used weather prediction model is the computer simulations of the atmosphere. They take the recorded data as the starting point and evolve the state of the atmosphere forward in time using physics and fluid dynamics. The complicated equations which govern how the state of a fluid changes with time require supercomputers to solve them. The output from the model provides the basis of the weather forecast. Most end users of this forecasting are the general public. Knowing that forecasting is of great use to sectors like agriculture where in farmers rely on weather forecasts to decide what work to do on any particular day. The major setback faced by the farmers is that they do not have easy access to the forecast at any point of time. Also the present forecasting is more on a general scale and does not provide the farmers with an accurate localized weather report. With this idea system mainly aims at addressing these issues faced by the agriculture sector.

There is a distinct need for better data aggregation of the weather parameters without having the cost burden to improve the weather forecast in India. Nowcasting is essential in developing countries like India, where the harvest season depends on the vagaries of nature and a sudden torrential downpour destroys crops worth millions of rupees. Nowcasting provides weather information for the short period of 0-6 hours which is essential as a general weather forecast never provides granular weather information which is region specific. The infrastructure for such an exercise is missing in the Indian subcontinent and the cost of setting it up is not economical for any governing agency to bear it. Hence there is a need for setting up an alternative infrastructure where the people themselves participate to support weather data aggregation and are beneficiaries of the weather nowcasting information which is provided to them. This sustainable loop is essentially created in proposed system which will be described in the following sections. The mobile being a ubiquitous device is an excellent option which provides the distribution of weather related sensors and the ease of aggregation of data as the ease of communication is now increasing with the ever expanding capability of the telecommunication network. The mobile would also provide targeted distribution of the weather information which is advantageous than the traditional means of mass distribution of information.

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