Intensely Accurate Weather Predictions, Coming Soon

Intensely Accurate Weather Predictions, Coming Soon

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Old Moore is famous for predicting the weather, and getting it right. But now, he has a serious competitor in a new device that promises to predict the weather with 100% accuracy.

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A company called Spire has unveiled a shoebox-sized satellite to make weather as predictable as the sun rising every morning. These new devices will be available to fill the impending weather data gap, and vastly improve forecasting.

Spire say that the world’s first network of commercial satellites will provide unparalleled insight into weather and climate changes. The satellites, which are booked to launch this year, aim to turn errors in weather forecasting from a resigned fate into an unacceptable occurrence. To date the amount of data available for weather forecasting has not kept pace with advancements in weather modelling and simulations, and that lack of data impacts everything and every person on a global scale: from international supply chains to managing road salt usage.

Through the use of GPS signals, and employing a technique pioneered by NASA in the late 1960s called GPS Radio Occultation, Spire will collect highly accurate atmospheric data. And by the end of 2015 Spire’s satellites will deliver five times the amount of data currently available, collecting 10,000 readings per day as compared to the 2,000 readings per day available from a collection of publicly funded weather satellites, vastly improving both short and long-term forecasting.

Spire’s announcement comes when the need for advancements in weather data is at an all-time high. Today there are less than an estimated 20 satellites in orbit that are responsible for providing all of the world’s weather data. Many of these are past their intended decommission date and will either fail or no longer collect accurate information beginning in 2016, potentially resulting in a gap of satellite weather data that could last from 1 to 5 years.

Moreover, each of the weather satellites in orbit today is a traditional satellite – the large, automobile-sized satellite that you might imagine from science fiction or space documentaries. The cost of building and launching a single satellite such as these starts at $300 million and can surpass tens of billions of dollars. Many of these traditional satellites in orbit today have been in operation for over a decade using technology equivalent to a 486 PC (first released in 1989). In contrast, Spire satellites cost a small fraction of these traditional satellites, designed with the equivalent computing power of your latest smartphone. They will be upgraded every two years to keep pace with the rapid technology advancements that we are used to in consumer electronics.

Spire CEO Peter Platzer says, “What if we don’t simply accept that weather is unpredictable and instead do something about it? Imagine what we could do if we could accurately predict weather patterns. Instead of arriving to the airport only to find your flight delayed by fog over one thousand miles away, you could be on time. You won’t have to be stuck in the middle of nowhere on the highway in a snowstorm, or have to watch your frostbitten crop wither and die. We could harness the coming weather to accurately use precious natural resources like water and solar power and protect humans from the impact of the elements. It’s not good enough to simply accept that a large percentage of GDP is impacted by weather and climate. We want to do something about it.”

Key Characteristics of Spire’s New Satellites:
• High Resolution Sensors: Spire sensors measure the GPS signals through Earth’s atmosphere to calculate temperature, pressure, and humidity with higher accuracy and resolution than many other forms of remote sensing technology. This improved resolution means less uncertainty, and more informed decisions backed by hard data.
• Rapid Advancements: Hundreds of billions of dollars are invested annually worldwide to make consumer electronics, robotics, and UAVs smaller, faster, lighter and more powerful. Each new generation of Spire spacecraft leverage these same technology advancements, delivering roughly 750% more computing power than the generation before it.
• Exceptional System Reliability: By spreading the risk of failure across a network of multiple satellites, reliability is ensured on a systemic basis. Any single satellite failure is backed by yet another satellite to take its place.
• Dramatic Increase in Data Collection: Spire’s rapidly advancing technology and software stands on the shoulders of giants by combining groundbreaking work from NASA, NOAA, and the Global Weather Forecasting Community. This satellite data system will provide 5 times more data than the world has today by the end of 2015, 10 times by the end of 2016, and over 100 times the data by the end of 2017.
Spire will keep pace in its mission to rapidly develop small, low-cost satellites with 20 planned to launch this year. Spire is combining the best of Silicon Valley’s rapid development cycles with the groundbreaking research and innovation happening at publicly funded weather programs around the globe.

So the question is, will you no longer rely on Old Moore for accurate weather predictions? The competition is heating up.

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