Global Science Project Links Android Phones With Satellites To Improve Weather Forecasts

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Collecting satellite data for research is a group effort thanks to this app developed for Android users. Camaliot is a campaign funded by the European Space Agency, and its first project focuses on making smartphone owners around the world part of a project that can help improve weather forecasts by using your phone’s GPS receiver. The Camaliot app works on devices running Android version 7.0 or later that support satellite navigation. Researchers think that they can use satellite signals to get more information about the atmosphere. For example, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere can affect how a satellite signal travels through the air to something like a phone.

The app gathers information to track signal strength, the distance between the satellite and the phone being used, and the satellite’s carrier phase, according to Camaliot’s FAQs. With enough data collected from around the world, researchers can theoretically combine that with existing weather readings to measure long-term water vapor trends. They hope to use that data to inform weather forecasting models with machine learning. They can also track changes in Earth’s ionosphere — the part of the atmosphere near space. Creating better ionospheric forecasts could be relevant in tracking space weather and could eventually make Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) more accurate by accounting for events like geomagnetic storms. Camaliot could eventually expand to include more attempts at collecting data on a massive scale using sensors present in “Internet of Things” connected home devices. According to The Verge, these are the steps to take to begin using the Camaliot app on your Android phone:

1. Select “start logging” and place your phone in an area with a clear sky view to begin logging the data
2. Once you have measured to your liking, select “stop logging”
3. Then, upload your session to the server and repeat the process over time to collect more data. You can also delete your locally-stored log files at this step.

“In addition to being able to view your own measurements against others accumulated over time, you can also see a leaderboard showing logging sessions done by other participants,” adds The Verge. “Eventually, the information collected for the study will be available in a separate portal.”

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Satellite Outage Knocks Out Thousands of Enercon’s Wind Turbines

Germany’s Enercon on Monday said a “massive disruption” of satellite connections in Europe was affecting the operations of 5,800 wind turbines in central Europe. MarketScreener reports: It said the satellite connections stopped working on Thursday, knocking out remote monitoring and control of the wind turbines, which have a total capacity of 11 gigawatt (GW). “The exact cause of the disruption is not yet known. The communication services failed almost simultaneously with the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Enercon said in a statement.

Enercon has informed Germany’s cybersecurity watchdog BSI and is working with the relevant providers of the satellite communication networks to resolve the disruption, which it said affected around 30,000 satellite terminals used by companies and organisations from various sectors across Europe. “However, no effects on power grid stability are currently expected due to redundant communication capabilities of the responsible grid operators. Further investigations into the cause are being carried out by the company concerned in close exchange with the responsible authorities,” BSI said. There was no risk to the turbines as they continued to operate on “auto mode,” the company said. The report also notes that Viasat was “investigating a suspected cyberattack that caused a partial outage in its residential broadband services in Ukraine and other European countries”

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