A new study has suggested that smartphones may be able to track weather patterns that leads to flash floods. Smartphones would soon forecast different natural disasters, according to researchers.
"The sensors in our smartphones are constantly monitoring our environment including gravity, the earth's magnetic field, atmospheric pressure, light levels, humidity, temperatures, sound levels and more," said lead researcher Colin Price, Professor at the Tel Aviv University.
"Vital atmospheric data exists today on some 3 to 4 billion smartphones worldwide. This data can improve our ability to accurately forecast the weather and other natural disasters that are taking so many lives every year," he added.
In the study, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, the team placed four smartphones under controlled conditions and analysed the data to detect phenomena such as "atmospheric tides," which are similar to ocean tides.
Researchers also analysed data from a UK-based app called WeatherSignal.
This data from the smartphones could be processed into real-time forecasts and returned to the users with a forecast or a warning to those in danger zones, the researchers explained.
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"We can't prevent flash floods from happening, but soon we may be able to use the public's smartphone data to generate better forecasts and give these forecasts back to the public in real time via their phones," researchers said.