By designing a new GPS system aboard airplanes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers will improve weather models and hurricane forecasting by detecting precise conditions in the atmosphere.

Current measurement systems that use GPS satellite signals as a source to probe the atmosphere rely on GPS receivers that are fixed to ground and cannot measure over the ocean, or they rely on GPS receivers that are also on satellites that are expensive to launch and only occasionally measure in regions near storms. The new system, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography geophysicist Jennifer Haase and her colleagues, captures detailed meteorological readings at different elevations at targeted areas of interest, such as over the Atlantic Ocean in regions where hurricanes might develop.

“This field campaign demonstrated the potential for creating an entirely new operational atmospheric observing system for precise moisture profiling from commercial aircraft,” said Haase, an associate researcher with the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Physics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) at Scripps.

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Also: Learn about GPS Estimates of Integrated Weather Forecasters.