In the coming months, Swiss-based weather data specialist Meteomatics will test the orchestration of an automated network of ‘hyperlocal’ drone-based weather-stations in Eastern Switzerland, which can provide detailed analysis and forecasts of weather phenomena such as fog, freezing rain, thunderstorms, heavy wind and drops in temperature.
“Until today, existing weather models have had problems to accurately predict local weather phenomena such as fog, high fog and thunderstorms, due to insufficient coverage of measurement data in the mid and lower levels of the atmosphere,” says the company. “Our in-house developed Meteodrones are patented and operated by our drone pilots and offer the innovative possibility to close this data gap.…With the approval of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), the Meteodrones can be flown beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and within the regulated airspace in Switzerland, enabling data of the atmosphere up to 6 km above the ground to be collected. The results are assimilated into the in-house developed high-resolution model to provide incomparably precise local weather forecasts. solution and direct measurements of temperature, humidity and wind for the first time.
Thales is supporting the development of the network, which could be used to deliver more accurate air traffic management services, as well as radar reconnaissance and optimisation of control and signalling for railways.
According to the company, current weather models have difficulties in measuring local weather phenomena, due to insufficient coverage of measurement data in the mid and lower levels of the atmosphere. As climate change increasingly leads to more extreme weather conditions, such data takes on even greater significance.
Combining meteorological, computing and drone expertise, Meteomatics develops high-resolution forecasts, especially in lower atmosphere environments. The company has developed a “hyperlocal forecasting” model which aggregates existing national weather data with its own drone data measurements to provide very precise measurements of the mid and low atmosphere.
The drones can be operated as mobile units but also as part of a permanent installation, or “Meteobase” system. Meteobases are docking pods that enable automatic and simultaneous operation of multiple drone systems. Several pilot studies have successfully demonstrated the positive effect of mobile Meteomatics drones on the quality of high-resolution local fog and storm forecasts.
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