Navy will predict weather three months in advance with robot subs

Forecasting the weather is such a difficult job that we’re generally happy if it’s done correctly half of the time. Some folks want to give the power to the people when it comes to predicting the latest storm surge. Unsurprisingly, though, the U.S. Navy doesn't have time for all that. Within the next ten years, Navy scientists will be able to predict the weather up to 90 days in the future, which should handily best your local TV weatherman.

Forecasts this far in advance require an awful lot of math, and in order to do this sort of math, you need to minimize variables. The weather-predicting issue with variable reduction is simple: we need information from under the sea. All over the place. Cue the submarine drones, which will be tracking data throughout the ocean, such as temperature and salinity. Robots like the Slocum glider, a five foot long underwater drone that can descend to 4,000 feet that’s currently used to find good parking spots for submarines, will check the ocean environment every couple of seconds and report back to the mainland.

Presently, the navy has got 65 Slocum drones, but they expect to increase that number 150 by 2015. This is mostly because the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants $19 million, according to its 2015 budget request, to research and build more underwater drones. While the Navy's primary goal isn't weather production (it’s strategic), they'll share Navy Ocean Forecast System software with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which will allow for better models and weather predictions for everyone.

Via Defense One

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