A new weather startup called ClimaCell uses cell phone signals and street cameras to predict the weather better than anyone else, it says.
By tapping into millions of signals from cell phones and analyzing images from street cameras, the service claims it offers a weather forecasting service that it is as much as 60% more accurate than those of existing providers such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Weather science that works
Those are pretty hefty claims, but the science behind them works. Radar signals are used by other forecasters while ClimaCell taps into those as well but further complements its service with signals from millions of wireless devices.
Now, the firm is working on a new mathematical model that converts cell phone observations into weather data that can be used in a simulation. The model can be adapted to focus on the region, the type of weather, and the frequency of updates a subscriber wants.
The company's motto is "same weather, different forecast." Its webpage touts that it has "500 million weather sensors at your fingertips."
The firm claims its vision is to map all of the weather data in the world. And it has the team to back it up.
An impressive team
"ClimaCell’s microweather science team has been behind some of the biggest innovations in the weather industry in over a decade. The team is a made up of an amazing group of meteorologists, analysts, and Ph.D. recipients in Wind Energy, Electric Engineering and other sciences, and is the backbone of everything we do here at ClimaCell,' writes its science section.
The researchers are led by Luke Peffers who worked for the US government looking for signs of radiation in the weather to check whether nuclear test bans were being violated. Peffers told MIT Technology Review that ClimaCells' model was tested in Israel for a three-month period during the floods.
“We did a terrific job compared to the Israel Meteorological Service’s rain gauges,” Peffers said. Now the company claims it is interested in working with national forecasters along with providing weather forecasts to private businesses.