It’s a bit of a national stereotype, but it’s also true that we Brits have more than a passing interest in the weather. Alright, an obsession with the weather. And it’s an obsession that’s heightened at this time of the year, as the entire UK cowers indoors, fearful of the Day After Tomorrow aping couple of centimetres of white death that could descend from the heavens at any given moment and, frankly, kill us all.
What makes this sense of impending doom worse still is that the weathermen and women at the Met Office never quite get it correct as to when we can expect the onset of the deadly drift, leaving us all nervously staring at the skies, Facebook and Twitter snow-updates our only means of guessing when it’ll hit. But that could all change soon thanks to Android.
Atmospheric scientists in Canada are working with app developer Cumulonimbus to “take air pressure information that is already being collected from thousands of Android phones and feed it into sophisticated new climate models”, the upshot of which would be a personalised weather pattern prediction based on your precise location, rather than having to rely of a vague regional rough idea waved out by a man with a map.
The sticking point would be convincing Android users to allow their location information to be accessed and monitored by an app and, as we know, some people feel uncomfortable about such online openness. But with atmospheric sensors already being built into the latest models of Android smartphones, you have to ask yourself the question: what’s worse? Allowing a little access to info for the greater good, or ending up a meat-popsicle because you were caught short in an unexpected urban avalanche? Precisely.