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GPS Weather Jets

April 9, 2014

GPS devices on commercial flights could predict hurricanes.



Weather forecasting jets. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Jennifer Haase/Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

(Jennifer Haase/Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

In the future, GPS devices on transoceanic flights could help improve weather forecasts and predict hurricanes. This according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography geophysicist Jennifer Haase. She says moisture in the air delays GPS signals ever so slightly. By measuring the extent of that delay on successive flights, meteorologists could gauge upcoming weather events.

JENNIFER HAASE (Scripps Institution of Oceanography):

And maybe get a better idea of whether it’s really going to get to a hurricane or if it’s just going to become a tropical storm.


Assessing the potential strength of a storm and whether it will even hit land could save lives. Haase and her team tested the system on a research aircraft and demonstrated that atmospheric data can be measured using a GPS in flight. But she says the instruments will have to be miniaturized before being deployed on commercial aircraft. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.