The Global Positioning System (GPS) technology that is based on satellite is being used to enhance weather forecasts. The GPS technology is generally used to guide contemporary in-car navigation systems.
Low earth orbit satellites and GPS are being used by researchers at the Bureau of Meteorology and RMIT University’s SPACE Research Center to deliver an extra kind of temperature profile observation for applications in weather forecasting computer models.
Approximately hundred thousand million current weather observations, comprising information from 30 to 40 satellite instruments are leveraged by computer models to produce data used by meteorologists to make weather forecasts.
Research Program leader of the Bureau of Meteorology and also a retired Director of the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, RMIT Adjunct Professor John Le Marshall stated that GPS data is used to improve cross-calibration of the data and real-time temperature field from several satellite instruments which in turn boosts the quality of the satellite observations.
The degree of bending in the GPS beam can be measured while it passes through the atmosphere. This concept can be applied to determine atmospheric temperatures accurately, and employ this knowledge to calibrate various other satellite readings and improve temperature fields.
Professor Le Marshall believes that the Bureau is now providing accurate forecasts 10 hours earlier, since the study is being used in this year’s forecasts. The GPS data offer potential uses in severe weather warnings and climate monitoring.
Professor Kefei Zhang, Director of the RMIT SPACE Research Center, stated that GPS is used as a powerful and low-cost means for accurate measurement of earth environment.