The Oklahoma State University and three other universities in partnership have been provided $6 million by the National Science Foundation to develop a drone which can help enhance weather forecasting by evaluating and studying atmospheric physics. The research will be conducted over a period of four years.
The aim of the research is to develop an affordable unmanned aircraft system which can be used by multiple stakeholders such as government, universities, and private users to understand the conditions prevailing in the atmosphere and to forecast the weather more effectively. According to the principal investigator of the project, Jamey Jacob, drones will be one of the commonly used tools in atmospheric physics and meteorology. However before reaching that stage, there is a significant research gap that needs to be filled. In addition to that, there are numerous regulatory and technical areas that need to be addressed.
This research is of the largest scale involving the study of the use of drones in weather forecasting techniques. Since this research involves a partnership between multiple researchers from different universities, it involves an inherent factor of synergy which may result in an effective and efficient research.
This research is also important because it can become the point of origin for further research such as the impact of drones on climate change. Researchers are confident that this effort will be regarded as a game-changer in the field of meteorology and the study of atmospheric physics. Meteorologists largely use radars and ground-based technologies to forecast the weather, however with the application of drones for this purpose, experts will have access to an airborne device to collect necessary data regarding atmospheric physics which can help provide more accurate weather forecasts. The success of this research will result in the development of a cost effective method of accurate weather forecasting.